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Thumb movement during vibrato

Technique and Practicing: How does one learn to keep the thumb motionless during wrist vibrato?

From Danny Shedlo
Posted February 3, 2005 at 05:28 PM

I have a technical question - my hand/wrist vibrato seems to be developing buy I'm told that my thumb must remain still at all times. It seems impossible for me to vibrate the wrist and hold my thumb absolutely still, even when my hand is very relaxed and flexible. How much thumb movement is permitted?

From Tom Holzman
Posted on February 3, 2005 at 06:22 PM
This is really a question that a teacher can answer best, since s/he would be able to see exactly what you are doing and help you adjust to do the vibrato correctly.
From Michael Schallock
Posted on February 3, 2005 at 09:09 PM
You really should have a teacher watch. Your instincts are probably pretty close to what is correct. Your thumb does have to move a little. There is certainly a rotation that must be allowed to happen or your vibrato will not work very well. If you have other big thumb movements...well, only a teacher watching will be able to give you accurate information and help.
Good luck and don't give up. A nice vibrato takes time and a lot of careful work and study. Time spent on a nice vibrato is time spent on fixing a lot of other related things: left hand position, finger placement, relaxation of left arm and back, etc.
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on February 3, 2005 at 11:53 PM
listen to Michael , the thumb deifnitley rotates. Without this movement your hand will be locked.
From Thomas McEvilley
Posted on February 4, 2005 at 09:00 AM
Yes, the thumb must move with the wrist a bit - else the brakes are on.
From Danny Shedlo
Posted on February 4, 2005 at 02:55 PM
thank you all for your feedback. My feeling is that as time goes on, my thumb will stabilize a bit more, with the help of my teacher. When I watch other players, their thumb is "still" to the point of being an "anchor" to the rest of the vibrating hand; this is especially noticeable when an arm vibrato is used (Issac Stern comes to mind, also Y. Bashmet).
From Inge S
Posted on February 4, 2005 at 04:43 PM
It's a question that interests me as I'd like to have another go at learning vibrato. The thumb has three joints including the bottom one that disappears into the hand and attaches to the wrist. Would movement be more allowable at some than others - i.e. the nether joints with the joint at the nail that acts as an anchor/counteracts the pressure of the vibrating finger being relatively (completely?) immobile?
From Stephen Brivati
Posted on February 5, 2005 at 01:10 AM
I suspect one might run into difficulty applying this kind of analysis. If the thumb is relaxed and you maybe practice a few wiping exercises to remind yourself , as you ointed iut, where its joints actually are, then it is just a question of not doin anythign with it. You might check out the exericses on it in the vibrato section of Basics,

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