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Violin 101: What Is Bow Direction? Learn Violin Bowing Techniques From Itzhak Perlman

Written by the MasterClass staff

Last updated: Sep 29, 2021 • 4 min read

Violin playing requires two distinct techniques performed by a player’s two hands. The left hand is used for producing specific pitches. This is done by pressing down on the violin’s strings at various points along its fingerboard. The technique is known as “stopping.”

The right hand is used to vibrate the strings. You do this by either plucking them (known as pizzicato) or by gliding a bow across them (known as arco). The arco technique is by far the most prevalent within violin literature, and it requires both down-bowing and up-bowing.