June 28, 2013 at 5:25 PMThis week's question was inspired by the excellent Vibrato Master Class with Shakeh Ghoukasian that I attended last week. It gave me wonderful ideas as a teacher, and for my student who attended, it was a revelation. Afterwards she said, "I GET it!" -- three happy words!
There are two main kinds of vibrato: arm vibrato, in which the entire arm vibrates; and wrist/hand vibrato, in which the hand waves from the wrist. (Arguably there is a third, "finger vibrato," but this is more of a refinement of how flexible the finger is when touching the string, and it happens in concert with an arm or wrist vibrato. Yes, feel free to argue with me about this, I know someone will!)
Some instances work better with arm, others with wrist, but many if not most instances work just fine with either an arm or wrist vibrato. Most people have one or the other that they do better and default to. Me? I'm left-handed, and I came by a wrist vibrato quite early on. "Arm vibrato" was something my college professor taught me, and I found it to be an interesting revelation. I do use it for double stops, very high passages, etc., but I default to a wrist vibrato on most occasions.
Funny enough, my students have evolved their own vibratos -- several were very natural with "arm vibrato." It's great to learn both, but one usually starts with the kind that works best!
So what kind of vibrato do you primarily use, or do you honestly use the same amount of both? Or are you still working to cultivate this skill? That's okay, too!
Using the first finger on the E string to vibrato it feels natural to me to use a twisting motion like a guitar player would use which can create quite a fast vibrato. Just imagine BB King's big left hand shaking out a note high up the neck and you get the idea. I've been playing guitar myself over 30 years.
I don't think there's one cut and dry answer to this although I'm sure those who've been playing much longer probably favor a particular style over the others. As mine develops I may end up favoring one style as well.
Is there an implicit message in those performances that we are not getting regarding which vibrato is best ?
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