baroque bow & BOW-HOLDS

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Baroque cello - Bass violin bow

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Baroque Cello Bow tip

Bow made by Hans Reiners, Berlin

Baroque cello Bow - clip in frog

"CLIP-IN" FROG
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Before and after cliping the nut in.

The classical bows with a screw system appeared at the en of the XVIIIth century, after the baroque period.

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BOW HOLDS

We observe two bow holds until the beginning of the 19th century. 
Make you own opinion...

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UNDERHAND

UNDERHAND BOW-HOLD - cello
the hand is under the bow

OVERHAND

OVERHAND BOW-HOLD - cello
the hand is over the bow.

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important cellists, unknown bowholds

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I. UNDERHAND BOW HOLD


Observation of paintings, documents & performers


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Observation of paintings

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Scotland

Niel gow and his brother (Donald Gow, cellist), by David Allan, circa 1780

NETHERLAND

Village musicians, by Adrian Jansz van Ostade, circa 1645

england

Portrait of a gentleman seated playing cello, by Charles Philips, circa 1720

italy

Concerto in casa Lazzari by Girolamo Martinelli

closer view.

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Recommended read:

"Iconographic study of the violoncello and the way it was played up to the year 1800"
"Certain Aspects of baroque music for the violoncello as finally exemplified in the suites for
unaccompanied violoncello by J.S. Bach. (thesis, doctorate, University of South Australia 1983-4)"
by Mark Mervyn SMITH

Read: "The cello bow held the viol way, once common, but almost forgotten" by Mark Smith  Read - Page 47

description

Description of J.C. Schetky's bow hold
Allgemeine Musikzeitung, 1799, Leipzig

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Translation


The thumb was laying on the frog of the bow, the second finger was on the stick, and the other 3 fingers were on the bow hair. By the pressure of those fingers, especially the little finger, he increased the tension of his bow .


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CELLISTS WHO PLAYED WITH UNDERHAND BOW HOLD

FERDINANDO III DE MEDICIS

1663-1713
PATRON OF THE ARTS
About him...

His Villa in Patrolino was a center of music where he held operatic production in a theater built for that purpose. Close to D. Scarlatti, he produced five of his operas.

Ferdinando was also in contact with J.F. Handel. Vivaldi dedicated him L'Estro Armonico, a collection of twelve concertos for one, two and four violins.


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ANTONIO VANDINI

"Antonion Vandini, the famous violoncello, who they say play a parlare upon his instrument" [...]

it is remarkable that Antonio and all the other violoncello players here hold the bow in the old fashioned way with the hand under it"

Charles Burney,

Excerpt from: “Music men, and manners in France and Italy 1770”


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- Maestro al violoncello“ at the Ospedale della Pietà 1720-21 (In 172O Vivaldi returned to Venice where he staged in the Teatro Sant' Angelo new operas of his composition.) 

- First violoncellist of the Church of St. Antonio in Padua, concertmaster: Tartini (1721)
- 1723-26 : Accompanist of Tartini in Prague
- 1726-70: Back to his position of principal cello of the Church of St. Antonio in Padua.
- 1776-78: Back to Bologna his birth town where he taught until his death.
Composition for the violoncello:

  • Concerto in D major
  • Six Sonatas
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Markus Grauel

"M. Grauel, a violoncello performer in the king’s band, played a concerto; it was but ordinary music; however, it was well executed, though in the old manner, with the hand under the bow"
Excerpt from "An eighteenth century musical tour in central Europe and the Netherland."(1773)
Charles Burney

J. C. Shetcky


In 1799 the "Allgemeine Musikzeitung" published a long biographical print where his bow hold is described, explaining that his thumb was laying on the frog of the bow, the index finger was alone on the stick, and the other fingers were on the bow hair.

Highlights of his career: Schetky spent six months in Hamburg in 1761 where he got offered a Stradivarius.

  • 1761-68 Cellist of the court orchestra of Darmstadt
  • 1768-69 Played concerts in Hamburg

He also appeared in concerts in London where he got the patronage of J.C. Bach.

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overhand bow hold


Observation of paintings, documents & performers

England

Excerpt from: A cellist in Handel's orchestra - Philip Mercier - c.1740-1- (Cellist: J. Hebden )

France

Excerpt from Musique de chambre, by Carmontelle - c.1765-70

( Cellist: J.P. Duport) 

Italy

Portrait of Giovanni Battista Cirri by Giacomo Ceruti

Michel Corette's description
1741- end of the baroque period

Methode théorique et pratique pour apprendre en peu de temps de violoncelle dans sa perfection. - 1741

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FAMOUS CELLIST WHO PLAYED WITH OVER-HAND BOW HOLD

FRANCESCO ALBOREA

"Franciscello", a travelling virtuoso.
Born in 1691 in Napoli, Italy.
His playing and sound had an important impact in the development and the popularity of the violoncello. After a performance with Scarlatti, Geminiani related that only an angel that had descended and assumed his shape could have played like that. 
While in Vienna...
he received by far the highest salary paid to any violoncellist at the chapel (1260 fl. while the standard salary was between 150 and 500 fl.)

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«The incomparable violoncellist Fransciscello."

J. Quantz

Employed at the Imperial chapel of Vienna from 1726 until his death. His fame also inspired viola da gamba players to explore the new instrument. The French gamba player Martin Berteau was one of them. After hearing a concert of Alborea, he decided to dedicate the rest of his career to the violoncello.

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LUIGI BOCCHERINI.

Even if this is post baroque (1764), the hand is still placed at the balance point of the bow

"Luigi Boccherini playing the violoncello"
Date: circa 1764-1767

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important cellists - unknown bowhold

    GIOVANNI BONONCINI

1670, Modena - 1747, Vienna
Also refered as BUONONCINI
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Renowned composer and cellist, Bononcini traveled throughout Europe from his beginnings in Bologna, then to Rome (1691) and Vienna (1698), including stays in Madrid, Berlin (1702-03)*London (1720), Paris (1730).
By 1706, Bononcini was already famous all over Europe.

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.MARTIN BERTEAU

born in 1691 in Valenciennes, France.

Before becoming a cellist, Berteau was a fine bass viol player. Important figure as a performer teacher and composer, "The famous Bertaud", is considered as the founder of the French school of violoncello. He left no written record of his teaching method, but many of his pupils did. Among them: the Brothers Janson, Jean-Pierre Duport, Jean-Baptiste Bréval, François Cupis de Renoussard, Joseph Tillière, Dominique Bideau. Famous for his use of harmonics he composed 6 cello sonatas Sonate Da camera a violoncello Solo col Basso Continuo op.l where he wrote an explanation on how to play harmonics on the cello.

Read: Martin Berteau et le violoncelle en France (FR)

This is the only portrait of Berteau, there is no information about his bow-hold.

ABOUT THE CHOICE OF BOW-HOLD


We know that both bow-holds were used for cello/bass playing, it was not the case for other bowed instruments.


OVERHAND BOWHOLD

All the instruments held in the Da Spalla and violin position use the overhand bow-hold 

UNDERHAND BOW HOLD

All the instruments held in the upright position  use the underhand bow hold. 

THE CHOICE OF BOW HOLD IS RELATED TO THE WAY THE INSTRUMENT IS HELD IN ORDER TO USE THE NATURAL STRENGTH OF THE ARM THROUGH THE PALM OF THE HAND.

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CELLISTS USED BOTH BOW HOLDs, but WHICH WAY DID THEY CONDUCT IT?

THE VIOLONCELLO: TWO BOW-HOLDS, TWO WAYS?


Up or down? My research.