Articulation refers to the different bowing gestures on the violin. In the middle of a long, sustained note, each vibration of the violin string is nearly identical to the one that preceded it. The violin is said to be in a steady state. Of greater importance are differences in violin sounds coming from the transients: the short lived effects at the beginning and end of each note. These are achieved by different articulations or bowing styles.
- Col legno
- Sul ponticello
- Sul tasto
The regular rocking backwards and forwards of the finger on the left hand that stops the string changes the length of the string (and also, slightly, the tension). This causes a cyclical variation in pitch, producing a vibrato.
In its truest sense, every technique mentioned above has been used by violinists in Carnatic music. But of utmost importance is the glissando. It is the glissando that produces the gamakas. Continuous glissando [portamento] is the technique of gliding over a substantial range, and is possible only in unfretted instruments like the violin and stringed instruments with a way of stretching the strings, such as the veena and the sitar.