Dancing with a baroque bow

Back in December of 2005 E. Bradke wrote to a dance list:
> Speaking of short bows, I had a chance to try out a baroque bow.
> Fabulous for morris tunes – you can hit three strings at once if you
> try, and it’s light as a feather.

Off to the exhibition halls to look at baroque bows — quite a few bowmakers were exhibiting. They are nice — light, quick and agile; they definitely make you feel like you want to do more with the bowing arm.

Stopped at the table of Richard Rigall, who gave me an introduction to the features and differences of his various bows; explained the woods, weights, lengths and other options, then laid out a selection to try and handed me a violin upon which to assay them.

Unfortunately I read most of my baroque repertoire from sheet music and only vaguely remembered some of the solo works, so it was dance tunes that I played quietly. These bows seem ideal for Scottish strathspeys, quick and light on the snaps! Then on to a morris tune (Morris dance is old, right? Early music!) with lots of bow ornament, since that bow felt so lightning fast, when I noticed eyes in the hall looking behind me. It was Nutting Girl that was rolling off the strings, and a flute-maker adjacent had heard it and was doing the steps in the hall. Hang the subtlety, let the rosin fly and make the fiddle sing for the capers and chorus, as he danced round a table, while keeping mindful of the low ceiling and sprinkler heads.

Another vendor quipped “that’s the most life we’ve seen out of him all day!
I would say that bow certainly passed the danceability test! Yes, could do three strings at a time, still had to roll it to get four.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: