There is a pretty common hypothesis among both violinists and non-violinists that in order to get a big sound out of a violin, one must muscle it out of the instrument by putting more weight on the string with a heavy right hand and/or strong arm and that rosin will help put the rubber-to-the-road, so to speak.
This is completely wrong.
Your instinct might be, “The harder I hit something, the louder it sounds,” but on the violin, pressure has the exact opposite effect. If you physically press down with the violin bow onto the violin string, you very quickly get to the point where all you get is a horrid and ratcheting croaking sound. Rosin only exacerbates this atrocious noise.
So what’s the key to creating a big, powerful sound?
Bow speed. And lots of it. Bow speed is the acoustic violinist’s secret weapon in the war against slouched-over fiddlers and technique-deficient electric violinists hiding behind a wall of goofy sound effects.
If bow speed is the gas pedal, the entire powertrain consists of a light-handed but controlled bow hold, consistent bow direction, instinctive bow tilt and accurate sounding points on each string, deliberate left-hand technique, a soloist’s posture, and about five other ideas that are TLDR to translate into words. And there’s more…
All of the above technical points must be executed simultaneously.
If this sounds like it’s hard to do, you’re right! This can of worms typically takes thousands of hours of practice to master.