The Tartini's bows

Having seen so many different "copies" of Tartini's bow, I felt the urgency to verify how it actually is. My first visit to the "Conservatorio Tartini" in Trieste dates back to 2005. On that occasion I was able to take measurements and pictures ofthe two bows which belonged to the artist, and my colleague Federico could record other memorabilia such as the original tailpiece, bridge and nut of Tartini's violin..
In the course of his career Tartini possibly owned several bows, but only two of them are left.

The first one has a very thin snakewood stick of 33 grams, octagonal, a shallow head, and a clip-in frog site. There is a 5,8 grams frog, made from palmwood, not original. Usually a snakewood frog in that style weighs 8 grams. The overall weight of the bow, in playing conditions, could be 44 grams (including 2 grams hair). Despite its light weight, the stick is pretty strong, and flexible at the tip.

TartiniRitrattoGiovanejpg  TartiniVecchiojpg

The second bow is something like a "classical" bow. It's made from dark pernambuco and features a round stick with a high tip together with a clip-in frog site, the weight is 34,9 grams. The palmwood frog of the collection does not seem to fit this site. It's very hard to make hypothesis about the frog used by Tartini, but anyway, if we suppose an8grams frog, the overall weight of the bow in playing conditions could have been around 45 grams or so.

On December 14th, 2006, a second visit to the Conservatorio was needed to compare some copies I made with the original baroque bow. After this visit the Conservatorio ordered me copies of both original bows (for teaching purposes and in order to organize concerts showcasing them).


In the picture (top to bottom)

  • copy, tightened to playing tension
  • the original bow
  • copy, with loosened hair
  • copy, tightened to playing tension