A bow is a flexible arc which shoots aerodynamic projectiles (arrows or quarrels, sometimes stones) by means of elastic energy. Essentially, the bow is a form of spring powered by a string or cord. As this string is drawn, energy is stored in the flexible limbs of the bow; the energy is transferred to the arrow when the string is released, projecting it much farther than a weapon could be thrown.
A bow consists of a specially shaped stick with other material forming a ribbon stretched between its ends, which is used to stroke the string and create sound. Different musical cultures have adopted various designs for the bow. For instance, in some bows a single cord is stretched between the ends of the stick. In the Western tradition of bowmaking—bows for the instruments of the violin and viol families—a hank of horsehair is normally employed.
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