A Timeline history of the Violin Bow - from c. 1600 - 1800

... the sources in detail ...


Pietro Locatelli (1695 - 1754)

"He Plays with a Short Bow, and the Reason He gives for Doing so, is, that He Believes, no Fidler can Play any thing with a Long Bow, that He can't Play with a short one."
In this letter, written from Amsterdam to relatives in Geneva, Benjamin Tate (on a then very popular Grand Tour of Europe) writes a fairly detailed description of his encounter with Locatelli, and compares him - not always favourably - to the much less known Swiss violinist, Gaspard Fritz. In addition to his comment on Locatelli's use of the short bow Tate writes;
"... He [Locatelli] does not give me near so much pleasure. I think he has not so Bold a Stroke with his Bow, and that he does not draw so fine a Tone out of his instrument as Fritz; ..."
Then there is the famous report from J.W. Lustig on hearing Leclair and Locatelli playing together at the court in Kassel in 1728, where he describes Leclair as playing like an angel, Locatelli like a devil. And moreoever;
"The first (Leclair) with his practiced left hand and through his neat and lovely tone knew how to steal hearts, while the second (Locatelli) brought forth great difficulties and mainly sought to astound the listener with his scratchy playing."
The implication from both sources is that Locatelli did not have the finest sound - is this connected with his preference for a "short bow"?