How to Do a Tremolo Violin

Creating a tremolo on the violin requires using the bow to play between two pitches, usually on adjacent strings. When first learning to play the tremolo it is best to start with a slow speed until the motion becomes familiar. Then, once you have the motion down, you can speed up the tremolo until you achieve an appropriate sound. Tremolos typically only occur for short periods of time. However, the speed of the tremolo should move as quickly as the performer can play. There are two methods for creating a tremolo: a bowed tremolo that uses a single pitch, or a fingered tremolo that alternates between two pitches. Bowed


Step 1:  Finger the note you would like to play a tremolo on.

Step 2:  Place the bow on the string, about one-third from the tip of the bow. The tip of the bow is the opposite end from which you hold the bow.

Step 3:  Move the bow back and forth using only the top third of the bow. You can create a measured tremolo with a specific number of strokes per measure, or unmeasured in which you simply move as fast as possible.

Fingered Tremolo 

Step 1:  Place the appropriate finger on the first note of the tremolo. The appropriate finger will depend on the notes that are used and should follow the normal positions for the violin.

Step 2:  Use another finger to play the second note of the tremolo. You will alternate between the first and second note using your fingers and moving with a measured or unmeasured tremolo.

Step 3:  Pull the bow over the string that produces the alternating notes. Alternate between up-bow and down-bow, while the fingers do the work of creating the tremolo.

  • Up-bow is when you move from the tip of the bow to the frog and makes a smooth and imperceptible entrance possible. 
  •  Down-bow involves moving from the frog to the tip and typically gives a slight accent to the first note.


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