Gamba, Baroque and Psaltery Bows
The German violinist Louis Spohr wrote in his 1832 published Violin School: “If the making of violins, since the masters of the 17th century, is more behind than advanced, then to the contrary, the making of bows has been perfected, so that in the present condition hardly any improvement seems possible”.
In reality the improvements in bow making, introduced by Francois Tourte towards the end of the 18th century, led to a completely new bow type. A Tourte bow, seen objectively, is not “better” than a baroque bow. That “fits” albeit better to Spohr’s music, likewise it is more suitable for the interpretation of a Bach solo sonata.
It is without doubt for every musician that the sound culture of the 17th and early 18th centuries can only be reached by use of the respective bow, which must naturally be of master quality.