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Musical InstrumentsHistory, Technology, and Performance of Instruments of Western Music$
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Murray Campbell, Clive Greated, and Arnold Myers

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198165040

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198165040.001.0001

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Stringed Instruments Played with a Bow

Stringed Instruments Played with a Bow

(p.232) 8 Stringed Instruments Played with a Bow
Musical Instruments

Murray Campbell

Clive Greated

Arnold Myers

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the acoustical principles underlying the functioning of bowed stringed instruments. It also discusses the stick-slip interaction between the bow hair and the string, the importance of resonances in the body of the instrument and the enclosed air, and the directional pattern of the radiated sound. The historical development of bowed strings from medieval instruments, such as the rebec into the two main families of violins and viols is reviewed, and the 20th-century development of the Hutchins violin octet, is also discussed. The individual members of the violin family — violin, viola, violoncello, and double bass — are described, and the methods currently used in the construction of violins and viols are reviewed. Characteristic techniques used in playing bowed stringed instruments are outlined.

Keywords:   string, stick-slip, resonance, radiation, violin, viola, violoncello, double bass, Hutchins

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