How do bows contribute to tone?

Bows contribute to tone production in multiple ways. When played, they resound and produce their own sound. They enable musicians build the sound they want through the trimming of tone colour, warmth and power. Bows also control tone projection, they are the instruments’ lungs therefore controlling instruments’ breathing.

Eventually bows help musicians to a comfortable and relaxed playing posture.

Kyril Zlotnikov about the role of the bow

Bows have a key role in sound production

1 – As music instruments

When a bow is played, the stick resounds and sings. The bow’s voice is amplified by the instrument sound box. The bow’s voice tessiture mainly depends on pernambuco wood variety and quality.

The capacity of a given bow to adjust the sound maintly depends on their architecture, their elasticity and their hair.

2 – As stringed instruments’ sound projection controller

Bowed stringed instruments are air instruments, according to Lupot’s “la Chélonomie ou le parfait luthier de L’Abbé Sibire”. Bows set stringed instruments’ soundbox mass of air into vibration. Bows control this air mass’s life. Bows are stringed instruments lungs giving them breath and controling both their power and projection.

3 – As a part of musicians body

Bows also control musicians posture and body tension. A perfectly finetuned bow will enable musicians play fluidly, with a relaxed body. Badly tuned bow force musicians to adjust their body and create tensions to reach the sound they want, therefore harming both themselves their sound quality.