Ellie Nimeroski: François Xavier Tourte’s modern violin bow

François Xavier Tourte’s modern violin bow and its implications in the playing style of Beethoven’s violin sonatas composed for Rodolphe Kreutzer and Pierre Rode, Op. 47 en 96

Ellie Nimeroski

  • Research Unit Music & Drama
  • Research Group Performance Practice & Composition

My field of research is the “Tourte” violin bow, the new model by François Xavier TOURTE (1747-1835), as it developed alongside changing aesthetics of its time. Appearing as of 1780, this bow was a landmark in the violin bow’s history, and the Tourte bow brought new possibilities for expressive accents in violin playing. In considering the context of the violin bow’s development in the late 19th century, I investigate the ways in which the Tourte bow was new and innovative in its construction and playing potential. The research will be practice-led in two respects, through performance and through bow making. I compare the bows from a performance perspective in violin sonatas Op. 47 and 96 by Beethoven, sonatas intended for Kreutzer and Rode respectively, two violinists of the French school whose playing was shaped by the Tourte bow.

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