Tone on a stringed instrument is determined by a combination of bow speed, bow weight, and bow placement (assuming straight bowing is employed). All three dimensions interact with one another to produce a tone that can be aggressive or transparent, loud or soft, scratchy or airy.
Bow speed is directly correlated to how much bow is used to produce each note. Most students having difficulty with bow speed are not moving the bow fast enough or using enough bow.
Bow weight refers to how much of a player’s arm weight is transferred to the string through the bow. ‘Weight’ should not be confused with ‘pressure,’ which is produced through muscular tension!
Bow placement is also known as ‘contact point’ and describes where on the string the bow is drawn. Playing closer to the bridge produces a fuller tone and playing closer to the fingerboard produces a lighter tone.
4 = Exceeds the standard = Student always produces a strong and clear tone, as well as a variety of tone colors.
3 = Meets the standard = Student usually produces a strong and clear tone.
2 = Approaching the standard = Student sometimes produces a strong and clear tone.
1 = Needs improvement = Student rarely plays with a strong, clear tone.