Many parts of the body may be bowed to produce an “air sound”. This is a result of the friction created through the contact of the rosined bow hair with wooden parts of the instrument. It is possible to bow many parts of the instrument that are easily accessible including the ribs, the front and back plates, the scroll, and the tuning pegs. As the design of string instruments is not always standard, a slightly different timbre may be achieved in each of these areas of the body, with further variation from one instrument to the next.
Bowing the wood on the baroque violin:
Bowing the wood has a similar timbral outcome on the baroque violin as on any other bowed string instrument. One complication can result, however, from a physical quality of historical bows. As baroque and classical bows have less hair than modern bows, and do not have metal ferules or spreader wedges to keep the hair flat, as shown in Figure 9.1 in the previous entry, the hair can potentially bunch together. This reduces the surface of the hair and thereby the potential dynamic level of air sounds on the baroque violin, in comparison to modern string instruments.
The following is an example of bowing the baroque violin bouts on the player’s right-hand side, producing an air sound.
Video example 10.1 – bowing bouts of baroque violin, right-hand side
The following is an example of bowing the baroque violin bouts on the player’s left-hand side, producing an air sound.
Video example 10.2 – bowing bouts of baroque violin, left-hand side
The following is an example of bowing the baroque violin front plates, followed by the back plate, producing an air sound.
Video example 10.3 – bowing baroque violin front plates and back plate
The following is an example of bowing the baroque violin scroll, producing an air sound.
Video example 10.4 – bowing baroque violin scroll
The following is an example of bowing the baroque violin tuning pegs, producing an air sound.
Video example 10.5 – bowing baroque violin tuning pegs
Tablature as found in Lachenmann may be suitable for passages requiring extensive movement to and from the different areas of the instrument. For short, isolated passages, an “x” notehead on a single pitch with a written description above the stave of the area to be bowed, for instance, “bow wood” or “bow scroll”, may suffice, as in Figure 10.1 below.
Figure 10.1 – example of a possible notation for a passage in air sounds on the wood of the violin.
 See Lachenmann’s solo ‘cello work Pression (1969/2010, p. 1), his solo violin work Toccatina (1986, p.5), and his string quartets Gran Torso (1988, p. 1), “Reigen seliger Geister” (1989, pp. 2-5), and Grido (2002, p.2).