Strings – Studying Bowing on Marked Parts

Study bowing by looking at marked string parts, and look over your own orchestra parts once they’ve been rehearsed and performed.

This can be enormously educational for an orchestrator trying to get their head around how bowing works. Even a very experienced composer will occasionally score a phrase with certain assumptions about bowing, and then find those assumptions were inaccurate. What’s more, different concertmasters will mark different bowing schemes for the same work, based on many different factors: the experience of the players, the sound of the hall, the style of the orchestra, and their own personal take on the piece and its period.

If you get a chance, try to borrow some parts from a violinist friend, and see how their parts have been marked. Or better yet, after your own work gets performed, get the string parts back from the orchestra librarian, and see how your own music has been marked. In the excerpt below from the 1st violin part of a Samuel Barber work, look over how the bowing has been distributed across the phrasing. I don’t have time to go into detail about this today, but I will revisit marked parts in the future, and perhaps do an extended video or week-long set of tips about them.

Strings - Studying Bowing on Marked Parts

Thomas Goss is a professional composer and orchestrator with an international roster of clients. He has worked with such talents as Billy Ocean, Melanie C, Sharon Corr, and Nikki Yanofsky. His compositions, orchestrations, and crossover arrangements have been performed by such ensembles as Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and San Francisco Symphony Chamber Ensemble.

Thomas lives and works in Wellington, New Zealand, with his wife Erica and son Charlie, and one very unappreciative cat.

One thought on “Strings – Studying Bowing on Marked Parts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *