‘Saltando’ is an Italian musical term used when string players are being asked to play with a rapid, bouncing stroke in the middle of the bow – rather like sautille bowing. The speed at which this is executed allows the bow to bounce slightly off the string between each note of it’s own accord. The natural springiness of the bow gives the feeling that the bow is actually bouncing without intervention (although the reality is that it’s momentum which allows this to happen).

Saltando strokes, like Sautille strokes are both rapid forms of playing ‘spiccato’ (a generic term meaning any bowing where there is a lift between each note).

From a player’s point of view, both saltando and spiccato seem to give the impression – both visually and by the sound they make – of a vertical bouncing of the bow. The reality is actually different, with the bow being encouraged to brush the string in a horizontal way, so there is only a fractional lift at the end of each stroke. When played loudly however, there can be a much more noticeable lift (for example in the final section of Sarasate’s ‘Zigeunerweissen’ which we have a sound clip of on the home page of the String Section website) which gives the sound an energy that lends excitement and dynamism to a string arrangement or composition.