Does a violin bow make a difference

Welcome to the violin forum

Hello wool mouse,

I haven't been into baroque music that long, but try to put into words what I have heard in terms of bowing and what experiences I have had so far with my (and a few other baroque bows) in particular. Perhaps someone can / may then expand / differentiate that.

Due to the different construction (and yes, also less hair) there are differences in the behavior of the bow compared to a modern (touring) bow.
Especially early baroque arches are generally a lot shorter than modern ones, late baroque arches are not much or not at all; in general, baroque arches are / were not standardized as they are today, and there was (and is) a greater diversity.
Basically, baroque bows are usually lighter than corresponding modern bows, and above all the weight distribution is different. Because baroque bows do not have a real head like tourte bows, but a much slimmer and more or less pointed tip, they are comparatively light at the top and the center of gravity of the bow is closer to the frog than with modern tourte bows.
Due to the rather convex curved rod, the hair, especially in the middle of the arch, is a lot further away from the rod than with Tourte arches, which are slightly concave, and are / appear more tense; because of the different weight distribution mentioned and because there is less hair,

- Baroque bows tend to 'by themselves' produce a somewhat louder sound in the middle (<>), which is achieved through active 'tone shaping' in the sense of a "messa di voce" ( / wiki / Messa_di_voce) can be reinforced (generally easier than with Tourte bows).

- When the bow is pulled evenly, the tone is not so easily 'straight' and even everywhere as with tourte bows

- the bow reacts more easily to impulses, is generally more maneuverable (advantage) / does not have as good 'road holding' as Tourte bows (at first perhaps unfamiliar and more difficult to handle), and the tone is generally 'leaner', more articulate and less full ; at least not as smooth and 'wide' as with Tourte bows.

If you hold a (modern) Tourte bow a few cm above the frog, some of these differences can be felt and used.