Early Baroque bows
Bows for different instruments from Praetorius Syntagma Musicum (1614-1620)

Historical Baroque and Classical Bows

My interest in historical bows grows the more I research and make bows based on the old models.

When I studied music, we had a “modern” bow, and a “baroque” bow. Later I realized that a “baroque” bow is not one thing but many. As the musical language in the 17th and 18th centuries had many different expressions and styles, and as the link composer-musician-luthier was much closer than today (all composers were performers, and many instrument makers were musicians as well) , I feel that the bow model of each period and country matches the music that came from the same time and place.

I find the variety of different 17th and 18th centuries bows very exciting:  There are bows of many shapes, lengths, materials used, and each model has a different life in the stick and a character that makes the bow want to move in a certain way in the player’s hand, which can be inspiring for playing the music which came from the corresponding period and country.

After all, HIP can mean not only “Historically Informed Performance” but also “Historically Inspired Performance”!

You are welcome to have a look at the different bows on the following pages. Where possible I always prefer to make bows based on original examples, but in some cases (mainly Viola da Gamba and Viola bows) when there are no surviving originals, I make my own models, and base them on the style of the period, iconography and practical experience.

Violin bows  |  Viola bows  |  Cello bows  |  Viola da Gamba and Violone bows