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Bowed Sarabandes in French String Manuals

Michel de Monteclair's reputation as a musician lay primarily in his teaching (he taught the children of François Couperin) and as an innovative orchestrator.  In his violin method (1711-12), he provides two sets of bowings, one above the notes and one below.  He explains that some do one, and some the other, but the bowings placed below the notes are generally adopted by "skilled players."   As we see in the sarabande example below, the lower set generally follow the established Lullian pattern, while in the set above, the notes allow for a more "as it comes" bowing.  This occasionally results in up bows on down beats, although never for the beginnings of the four bar phrases.


Pierre Dupont was a violin teacher and dancing master.  His treatise on violin playing was first published in 1718, but reprinted in 1740.  Written in the format of a pupil asking questions of the teacher, Dupont explains that the reason he does not continue to indicate t (down bow) and p (up bow) for the second and third phrases, is that the bowing remains the same.  Reflecting strict Lullian bowing practices, he explains that when the bow does not fall according to the rule, such that the first beat of the bar would arrive as a down bow, one simply retakes the bow as in the first phrase.

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