When to vibrato?
Recently, I started practicing and learning music theory and found out that there's "Vibr" written in the sheet when the piece--or any aspect of it-- needs to be played with vibrato but then I looked up this beginner piece called "Au Claire de la Lune" (which is a sort of french lullaby I think) that's played with vibrato. That's not what's bothering me. What's bothering me is that the sheet music doesn't state that it needs to be played with vibrato. So, how do you know if something needs to be played with vibrato if it's not stated in the sheet music but professionals are using vibrato?
Or is vibrato used as something extra sometimes to add flair?
A Historically Informed player, and a traditional "fiddler", will only use vibrato to "prettify" certain notes or phrases; the very necessary variations in tone come almost entirely from the bow: sharp, but not violent, attacks, and caressing sustained notes.
You just opened a huge subject which has been controversial at least since the book on violin playing by Leopold Mozart, the composer's father. You will probably get conflicting replies.
My students start learning vibrato when they are comfortable in 3rd position. It's important to have someone help you so you don't develop the wrong motion.
What John said = good!
In addition to continuous vibrato (which Scott said started in the Kreisler era and that sounds right to me), what you will hear in some recordings is that the vibrato is always the same. An example of a violinist who used this kind of "motorized" vibrato is Arthur Grumiaux but there are many others, especially within Grumiaux's generation. I too was taught that continuous vibrato was to be considered "part of your tone" that is to be used always (as if we play everything with the same tone).
Almost all professional players use vibrato throughout. At your stage, forget it until you can at least comfortably play all notes in tune in 1st position and can get a big, full and lovely sound.
Continuous vibrato in good hands, (Kreisler, Heifetz, Hahn etc) is certainly not monotonous! It is there in readiness, and its speed and intensity can vary independently of the dynamics (e.g. slower and wider in
I've just been re-listening to recordings by that eminent cellist the late Janos Starker of Bach's solo cello suites and the Schumann concerto. A characteristic of Starker's playing is a virtually continuous vibrato, with a vibration frequency mostly 7 - 8 vibrations per second, which I measured from a WAV recording on Audacity. A spectrographic image on Audacity of the same performance also revealed how rich his tone is in upper frequencies, and how projective - both of which are a function of vibrato. Another characteristic of his playing is the superlative precision of his intonation.
There's really no rule for vibrato - just conventions.
That's an original theory!
I attended a masterclass by Joshua Bell years ago where he said he doesn’t really like it when people “turn off” vibrato and much prefers a continuous, even one. He used the analogy of “I don’t like having mayonnaise-y clump of a dressing in my salad and would rather have a beautiful vinaigrette.”
It is a fashion. I remember reading "Unfinished Journey" where Menuhin, late in his career, lamented in not considering a chamber group that played without vibrato. He commented that they he could have learned something playing without vibrato.
When not to vibrato? When you are an Indian violinist!!
Another nice one:
It's interesting about string quartets because I often hear some quartets playing some notes or passages with no vibrato. They do that "for effect" but isn't everything "for effect" in some way? In fact I think I hear this among quartets more often than I hear it among soloists.
No, vibrato should not be continuous and it is not the modern standard to do so.
It might be better to ask when not to vibrato, My number 1 rule is when the conductor says so!
Oh dear...I think Violetta !, this is something best to have a teacher to guide you through.
As I remember, Auer wrote about vibrato, that most of the students, when learn it, can not stop doing it and apply it everywhere. He saw the problem as a mental problem and called "the finger desease".