Purchasing the Perfect Bow

Violins, violas and cellos usually get all the attention. They’re the principle devices within the orchestra; they’re played by means of the maximum diagnosed of string musicians (uncommon exception: Yo-Yo Ma and his cello). When you see a violinist touring in an airport, the case shape gives away the character of the contents, but that form says not anything approximately the accompanying bow. A bow for all stringed contraptions is normally considered an appendage, a supporting player at best.

But it truly is to the unaware, untrained, non-musician. Accomplished violinists, living and gone, the likes of Joshua Bell, Lindsey Stirling, Fritz Kreisler, Giuseppe Tartini, Antonio Vivaldi, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Hilary Hahn, and Leila Josefowicz, recognise that the bow is as vital because the instrument itself. Which is why the bow makers of Port Townsend, Washington, are so critical among cutting-edge musicians and track enthusiasts. But it is not just violin bows which can be well-known.

Those bow makers consist of Kanestrom Bows, a shop run via Norwegian native pernambuco cello bow Ole Kanestrom, who become preceded through Charles Espey and Paul Martin Siefried. A young up-and-comer is Cody Kowalski, who apprenticed underneath Espey and has already gained global medals for his craftsmanship. Siefried discovered his craft in his local Los Angeles however moved to Port Townsend in 1991, attracted by the natural seashore environment.

Bows are made of an increasing number of uncommon pernambuco, that’s sourced from bushes that grow only within the coastal forests of Brazil. The laws of economics inform us that the more uncommon a deliver of some thing, the higher the fee (assuming that aspect is of treasured software, which a bow most certainly is). But the ones identical laws propose that if something fetches a excessive charge, it’s going to entice other makers who will increase the supply and bring down the price.

A fee drop isn’t always likely to occur every time quickly. These aren’t easy to make, they cannot be product of such excellent through machines, and the determination to this craft – as visible within the Port Townsend archetiers (what bow makers are known as, the counterpart to violin makers, who’re known as luthiers).

That craft starts with a verbal exchange among archetier and the violin player (cello, viola, and viola da gamba gamers as well). This is due to the fact a bow may be very non-public, and wherein one bow would possibly work with the fashion and artistry of one player it can no longer for every other; a bow that may manage through a vibrant glissando is probably less able to produce the sound predicted in a sonorous, low-sign up passage. Characteristics that matter are stability, feel, and weight. The strings, made from horsehair, remember as nicely, however those will get replaced many times over the lengthy life of the bow.

So why Port Townsend? Bowmakers and violinmakers in Mirecourt installed themselves within the northeastern French metropolis as early as 1629 in component due to the guild machine of master craftsmen and their apprenticeships. Port Townsend additionally has its specialists – Kanestrom, Espey, Siefried, and Kowalski – who draw both clients and apprentices. In a global supply machine of pernambuco, ebony and silver (for the bow’s frog), and horsehair, location is much less vital than the presence of master instructors.