Enter the radius and frequency of the bowstring into the calculator to determine the bow speed; this calculator can also evaluate any of the variables given the others are known.

Bow Speed Formula

The following formula is used to calculate the bow speed:

BS = (2 * π * r * f) / 60


  • BS is the bow speed in meters per second
  • r is the radius of the bowstring in meters
  • f is the frequency of the bowstring vibration in hertz

To calculate the bow speed, multiply 2π by the radius of the bowstring, then multiply the result by the frequency of the bowstring vibration. Divide the final result by 60 to convert it to meters per second.

What is a Bow Speed?

Bow speed refers to the velocity at which the bow of a stringed instrument, such as a violin, viola, cello, or double bass, moves across the strings. It is a crucial aspect of playing these instruments as it directly impacts the quality, volume, and tone of the sound produced. A faster bow speed can produce a louder, brighter sound, while a slower bow speed can produce a softer, warmer sound.

The bow speed is controlled by the player’s right hand (for right-handed players), and mastering the control of bow speed is a fundamental part of learning to play a stringed instrument. It requires a combination of arm weight, speed, and the point of contact on the string to achieve the desired sound.