Violin - Bows

Bows

A violin is usually played using a bow consisting of a stick with a ribbon of horsehair strung between the tip and frog (or nut, or heel) at opposite ends. A typical violin bow may be 75 cm (29 inches) overall, and weigh about 60 g (2.1 oz). Viola bows may be about 5 mm (0.20 in) shorter and 10 g (0.35 oz) heavier.

At the frog end, a screw adjuster tightens or loosens the hair. Just forward of the frog, a leather thumb cushion and winding protect the stick and provide a strong grip for the player's hand. The winding may be wire (often silver or plated silver), silk, or whalebone (now imitated by alternating strips of tan and black plastic.) Some student bows (particularly the ones made of solid fiberglass) substitute a plastic sleeve for grip and winding.

The hair of the bow traditionally comes from the tail of a grey male horse (which has predominantly white hair), though some cheaper bows use synthetic fiber. Occasional rubbing with rosin makes the hair grip the strings intermittently, causing them to vibrate. The stick is traditionally made of brazilwood, although a stick made from a more select quality (and more expensive) brazilwood is called pernambuco. Both types come from the same tree species. Some student bows are made of fiberglass or various inexpensive woods. Some recent bow design innovations use carbon fiber for the stick, at all levels of craftsmanship.

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Famous quotes containing the word bows:

    He began therefore to invest the fortress of my heart by a circumvallation of distant bows and respectful looks; he then entrenched his forces in the deep caution of never uttering an unguarded word or syllable. His designs being yet covered, he played off from several quarters a large battery of compliments. But here he found a repulse from the enemy by an absolute rejection of such fulsome praise, and this forced him back again close into his former trenches.
    Sarah Fielding (1710–1768)

    I then went to the Parade. I saw the King. It was a glorious sight.... As a loadstone moves needles, or a storm bows the lofty oaks, did Frederick the Great make the Prussian officers submissive bend as he walked majestic in the midst of them.
    James Boswell (1740–1795)

    Come with bows bent and with emptying of quivers,
    Maiden most perfect,lady of light,
    —A.C. (Algernon Charles)