Lesson 6

Aran Boat Song: Bow Arm and Good Tone


The Aran Boat song lends itself particularly well to working on one’s tone. Good tone is an essential part of learning to play the fiddle. The responsibility for this falls mainly onto the right hand, which holds the bow. Knowing that your tone, or quality of sound it primarily the work of your right hand alone actually really helps. You know where to look when it sounds muddy or scratchy. In the exercise below, practice making sure your bow is truly travelling between the bridge and fingerboard. Angle the stick slightly away from you. Take slow bows from frog to tip and focus on the natural tendency to end up at a diagonal the further towards the tip you are. Correct this by drawing your RH wrist in front of you and not “into your pocket”, which is what many beginner fiddlers do. Engaging the RH wrist is helpful.