String players spend a significant amount of practice time creating and learning bowings. These may be indicated in the music using up-bow and down-bow symbols, but those traditional notations do not capture the complex bowing patterns that are latent within the music. Regular expressions, a mathematical notation for a simple class of formal languages, can describe precisely the bowing patterns that commonly arise in string music. A software tool based on regular expressions enables performers to search for passages that can be handled with similar bowings, and to edit them consistently. A computer-based music editor incorporating bowing patterns has been implemented, using Lilypond to typeset the music. Our approach has been evaluated by using the editor to study ten movements from six violin sonatas by W. A. Mozart. Our experience shows that the editor is successful at finding passages and inserting bowings; that relatively complex patterns occur a number of times; and that the bowings can be inserted automatically and consistently.

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