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Louré or Portato Bow Stroke


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The louré (French) bow stroke is also known as portato (Italian). You can think of Loure as a bow stroke that is halfway between staccato and legato. The notes are played all in the same bow direction as in staccato but there is no true separation between the notes. Rather, the notes are "pulsed" so they have a legato effect.

Portato involves two main motions. The first is a slight pronation and supination of the right forearm and hand. The forearm pronates, causing the first finger to apply force into the bow, followed by a slight supination, releasing the force out of the bow. The pivot joint is the elbow with an active, pronating motion in the forearm

The second is a "dipping" motion in the forearm with the upper arm "swiveling" in the shoulder socket (more easily demonstrated in the video). The dipping motion in the forearm followed by a subsequent release also applies force through the first finger into the bow for the pulsation. The pivot joint is the shoulder with an active motion in the upper arm.

In portato it is important for the beginning of the notes to not have a "bite" or consonant attack. If they do, the bow stroke becomes staccato instead of portato.

Of course, all of this is much easier to explain visually on the video!




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