Moving from an arm vibrato to a wrist vibrato
I really would like to develop a nice wrist vibrato, but I'm finding it quite difficult to do so. I have a good arm vibrato, but every time I try do a wrist vibrato I get unwanted forearm movement. I've tried everything to correct it. I don't think the issue is tension unless it's some deeply hidden subconscious tension that I haven't considered. It almost feels as though the muscle needed to do the wrist vibrato might be too weak and that is what's causing this unwanted wagging of the forearm. This problem is what caused me to switch to an arm vibrato in the first place, but now I've come to the realization that I need to develop a good wrist vibrato to get that very elastic, springy vibrato. Should I revert back to bracing my palm against the ribs of the violin and doing the motion back and forth with the metronome? I had hoped all this time with an arm vibrato would make it easier for wrist vibrato, but if going back to the basics is what it takes I guess I'll have to do it. Any tips or insight is appreciated!
May I quote from myself...
Try in banjo position.
I should have thought that on the banjo, the fingers are aligned perpendicular to the strings (as on the'cello or the guitar)?
What does your teacher think (that's if you have one)? My thinking is that whatever vibrato you use should suit the music well. It doesn't specifically have to be an arm vibrato, wrist vibrato, etc. It could even be a combo vibrato.
The concertmaster of our chamber orchestra has the most amazing vibrato I have ever heard - and in concerts over the past (almost) 70 years I have seen and heard some of the greatest violinists (and of course, I have beaucoup recordings of almost everyone). Today, when she was performing a viola concerto with us I got a chance (since I was sitting in the viola section looking at her straight-on) to really watch her. Although she basically uses a wrist vibrato, there is also some forearm motion. This may account for the amazing sound her vibrato gives her - possibly a kind of compound-pendulum effect that allows her to engage more overtones. Previously I was not sure she also had any forearm motion - but she does, at least at times.
That's exactly what my vibrato's like. Works very well.
Yea, I guess I shouldn't try to fix what isn't broken. Now that I think about it, a lot of the recordings of the masters has them wearing long sleeved tuxedos, so it's nearly impossible to see what their forearm is doing.
The advantage of the "wave" exercise I describe above is that nothing is ever stiff or tight or restrained; wide motions "home in" on the notes, with just sufficient muscle-tone. The result often looks like a hand vibrato, but there is a flexibility which often goes right back to the shoulder-blades.
There is a U-toob video of Arthur Grumiaux playing the Mendelssohn concerto.
"I have a good arm vibrato"
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