Hooked Bowing Technique

In my most recent video, we learned all about the concept of hooked bowings. I find this particular type of bowing interesting, because it's one that is often overlooked in favor of the more common slurs and tied notes. So, today we are going to be diving a little deeper into the concept of the hooked bowing, while also looking at specific and effective ways to practice it. We'll also be addressing some differences between hooked bowings and other similar common bow techniques for string instruments!


So what is a hooked bowing, anyway? It's also referred to as "portato" or "broken slurs", and I've even heard it referred to as "slur staccato". Essentially what all of these terms mean is that we are playing two or more notes within the same bow, but with a slight separation in between each one.


How is it notated? The hooked bowing is notated by a slur symbol, with added dots either above or below each note (depending on the upward or downward position of the note-head), signifying a slightly separated articulation.





Sometimes you will see hooked bowing with a line in addition to the dot, which tells us that the separation will be softer and more pulsed, rather than sharp and completely stopped.


Some Common Comparisons:


Slurs - These are to be played smoothly, without separation between notes.


Tied notes - Although these are indicated by a slur symbol, they consist of a single pitch that is to be held for whatever duration the note values consist of without separation.


Staccato - This is notated by dots above each note-head, indicating separation between notes. With this type of articulation we use varied bow directions, whereas with hooked bowing we play multiple notes within the same bow.


Legato - This denotes smooth and connected notes played either in different bow directions or connected by a slur, but never with dots indicating separation.


Louré - This is probably the most similar to hooked bowing and portato, and some even use the terms interchangeably. The difference with this stroke is that requires a bit of a softer separation, with a slight pulse on each note. This is indicated by a line only, rather than only dot or dot and line paired together.


Ways To Practice Hooked Bowings:


As I mentioned in the video and as I discuss with many other techniques, you can practice hooked bowings using scales. If you are working on single note hooked bowing, you could play a scale for example "A-A, B-B, C#-C#...", and so on, playing each pitch on one bow.


Alternatively, you could play a scale using string crossings. For example, "D-A, D-B, D-C#...", and so on, playing two notes per bow. This not only helps with your hooked bowing technique, but improves your string crossings and left hand finger independence as well!


So hopefully now you can see that hooked bowings are an important technique for string instruments, and can be used in many ways. Feel free to check out this playlist on The Tune Project YouTube channel for more bow techniques and resources! Happy Practicing!





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