Sautillé versus Spiccato

The main difference between sautillé and spiccato are these:

  • speed
  • bow activity

They both seem to be very similar or almost the same, but they are not.

1. SPEED. Spiccato is slower than sautillé. Spiccato can be very slow. Sautillé is always very quick.

– Spiccato always starts from the string and than it always jumps (bow leave the surface of the string). Starting spiccato from the air brings almost always risk not being in time (to late or to early), because the right hand doesn’t have known a bouncing-tempo.
Sautillé always start from the string and keeps on the string, in a way being pressed in to the string.

– Spiccato can be played on the frog up to the middle. At the frog it is slow, going up to the middle it gets faster.
Sautillé is always played somewhere in the middle of the bow. Sautillé can therefore be played only on one point of the bow: every bow has different place of it. Extremely expensive ($10k and over) & great quality bows have a very clear place of sautillé (you can easily find it and it hits fantastic), and bad school bows sometimes don’t have that place so it is not possible to play sautillé at all!

– Spiccato jumps down from the air and jumps back, bounced. It is the right-hand activity.
Sautillé never leaves the surface of the string: the bouncing happens when the wooden part of the bow bounces up/down, sometimes hitting the hair, and produces “crackling”. Because the tempo of sautillé is extremely quick, there is no time for the bow to jump in to the air.

– Spiccato is practiced by bouncing the bow and taking control of the bounces and rhythm.
Sautillé is practiced by playing détaché, slowly at the place where sautillé can be produced, and accelerating the tempo the détaché transforms in to sautillé. Therefore, sautillé is a “very rapid détaché”, when by being pressed in the quick tempo and at the certain place it starts to bounce.

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