In tango, syncopations are made up of two parts: the question and the answer, and we can find different types of syncopations depending on how you play the question and the answer, so you could play it with bow-bow, pizz-pizz or bow-pizz. Also, the type of syncopation depends on where you play the accents and where you start (up beat or down beat). Although thanks to the German bow's tendency to jump, bow-only syncopation means much more control over the bow than French bow, we're talking about bow-pizz syncopation here because, from my perspective, it is the most challenging to play. the German bow, although in the book The bass in tango we can read that syncopation is most commonly played only with a bow. It is also mentioned that the way in which the different ways of playing syncopations are combined depends on the taste of the interpreter. So, in my experience, I prefer to play it with a bow pizzicato because I think it gives a more interesting color to the bass roll.
In general, when you start to play the German bow, one of the challenges is to change from bow to pizzicato or from pizzicato to bow quickly. From my point of view, making this change with a French bow is much easier because I feel that you have to make fewer movements, so you have more control over the bow.
In the book The bass in tango we can read the explanation of how to play the first part of the syncopa with a bow.
- Let the arm drop with all its weight (dead weight) until achieving the desired articulation.
- Immediately after the accent take control of the bow and keep it from bouncing. In order to achieve this, it is important to relax the arm after the articulation, feeling the contact between the middle finger and the thumb, and controlling the stick with the index finger.9
Here is a video playing the Syncopation with a French bow.