Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Instrumental Performance (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Glenn Basham

Second Committee Member

Donald Oglesby

Third Committee Member

Thomas Sleeper

Fourth Committee Member

Ross Harbaugh


The concertmaster position has evolved into one of the most essential positions in an orchestra. The demands associated with the position make it a rigorous chair to occupy. The concertmaster is responsible for a number of duties that are critical for an orchestra’s success. These duties include serving as a liaison between the orchestral musicians and the conductor, being in excellent form as a violinist, and being prepared to lead any score and play any solos in the pieces being performed. A vast knowledge of string instruments and an understanding of an orchestra’s capability is also important. These are key factors for teaching specific techniques and clearly interpreting the composer’s and conductor’s interpretive wishes. Interpretive ideas are unified throughout a string section using specified bowing techniques. Bowings solidify musical ideas for the entire string section. Concertmasters decide bowings primarily based on the first violin part. Subsequently, the bowing decisions are distributed to the other principals. Through the specification of bowing, concertmasters define articulations and other important elements of bowing to shape musical phrases. Concertmasters are relied upon for careful consideration of bowings that will obtain appropriate results, based on knowledge of a bow’s physical qualities and its relationship to various musical styles. Bowing challenges for a concertmaster involve coordinating orchestra members’ inherently different styles of string playing and musical interpretations. Concertmasters, like orchestras, are unique and must adapt to diverse situations. In addition to determining bowing, the concertmaster leads the string section from the front desk through his/her sound and through gestures, which communicate musical intent. This essay presents various approaches for bowing different styles of music. One chapter provides an overview of the concertmaster position. The second chapter concentrates on the various bow strokes required in a score, each accompanied by brief descriptions. Finally, the third chapter explores different ways to play a variety of musical examples ranging from the classical era to modern day compositions. Each example demonstrates multiple approaches for deciding on reasonable bowings. The Appendix consists of bowings of major compositions that were used in performances. A glossary of terms every concertmaster should know is also included.


Daniel Andai; concertmaster; bowing; orchestra; approach