Sheila Joynes's Musical Diary

Up Bow or Down Bow?


Have you ever wondered how it is that all good orchestras have all the violin bows going up and down at the same time? If just one person gets it wrong it sticks out like a … person in the wrong bow!

I had never given it much thought until Stephen said he presumed it was obvious in the music which way the bows should be going. No such luck! Some poor devil has to sit with the parts (and that’s another subject altogether!), deciding on which notes should be played UP and which DOWN and marking them with a V for an up bow and a sign (I can’t do on here) for a downbow, which looks a bit like a goalpost!

Yesterday, Audrey, the viola player, arrived with the music for the next CHANDOS concert. She had inherited it from whoever did the violin bowing so that she could then put in the viola bowing. Now I have to sit with all those parts and marry up what the cellos are going to do.

Cellos are upside down. (Well, no, violins and violas are upside down – who was the idiot who decided they should be held under your chin instead of on your lap, for goodness’ sake?) So we often want to bow things one way but can’t because the others are doing the opposite – GRRRR!

Once I have decided what we are doing, the parts go to the librarian who diligently copies every up and down marking into all the other copies so that we all do the same when we get together.

The next concert is on Sunday November 13th at 7.45pm in Malvern Theatres complex with a programme of Rachmaninov and Prokofiev. Ayden Onac is the soloist in the piano concerto. He has played with us many times before and is absolutely amazing – especially when you consider that he is a Maths teacher and headmaster at Tewkesbury School. How does he find time to practise?

See you there?