Vibrato oscillation center - where is it?
What is your opinion on the location of the oscillation center while doing vibrato?
I have read different opinions about this, often from people very much reputable violinists.
Let's consider two different opinions
(1) Nathan Cole's video How to develop a flexible, effortless violin vibrato says the oscillation center is below the pitch: if we were doing vibrato on C#, we change the pitch below C# and back to C# but never above.
The reason given here is that people hear if highest pitch we vibrate, thus if we were to move above C# "the audience picks up on the highest note you're playing." So I guess it will sound out of tune.
(2) Julia Bushkova has different commentary on how we should do vibrato. Her video Violin Techniques - Wrist Vibrato states that "research shows that nobody vibrates from the note up nor the note down, any good vibrato involves vibrating around the note".
A member of this forum, Simon Streuff, talked about both techniques here Vibrato on the violin - How to practice Vibrato.
How do you use and/or teach vibrato? Pitch down and to the note or above and up the note?
Going flat and spring back to neutral, with a hint of going slightly sharp to counter the flatten pitch.
As the fingertip rolls back onto a fleshier portion, the tone is momentarily less bright, and a shade softer; so our ears probably "catch" the "crest" of the wave.
Nathan wrote in a quite recent thread:
I've been taught that you never crest beyond the desired pitch. You slowly roll back/flat on the note then quickly release it up to pitch. You never go above desired pitch.
Yes but what you've been taught is not necessarily what you do or even what your teacher does. That's Nathan's point I believe.
I'm with Paul. If you listen carefully when you practice vibrato, your taste will presumably guide you to what you want, which may or may not line up with whatever the currently accepted theory is.
As Adrian Heath says, there are many car-alarm, siren-like vibratos around. And many of them belong to opera singers. Why is it that they consider themselves exempt? Many singers - particularly sopranos - sound jarringly discordant to my ears. It's the main reason I can't listen to most opera.
Personally I feel that vibrato goes below the note and does not raise the pitch of a note by any amount. Sometimes a wide vibrato allows the pitch to be sharpen slightly above the note, but in a way not to be conspicuous or noticeable.
Below and above.
The article in the July 2017 issue of the STRAD magazine confirms what Nathan Cole has been quoted above by Eva Savelsberg as saying - that vibrato goes AROUND the note. In fact an online summary of the STRAD article had a lot more graphic evidence to that effect than was shown in the magazine.
I think that the car-siren wobble, (although not more extreme than that of many opera singers), lacks the impression of a target note because it only modulates the pitch, but not the intensity or the timbre. I guess that it is vital that when the core note is sounding periodically, it is louder and brighter than its surrounding deviations, as I suggested above.
If we can't agree on where the center of pitch should be with respect to vibrato, then what does that say about the effect of vibrato on intonation?
It b****** it up! Best to avoid vibrato and just play out of tune as they do in some quarters! I always find conductors are invariably flat (or should I also say fat). Pianos without vibrato are all over the shop.
In cases of extreme fatigue, vibrato can hide unreliable intonation (although it may not then be a good vibrato).
I think that's the w*r* that I meant, but I don't really know its meaning as i only learnt it from a 10 year old fairly recently.
I agree with Nathan which I think is a very common opinion: begin at the pitch, go below and then back up to it - not above it. It's possible that in the heat of battle some players with fine-sounding vibratos may go just a tiny bit above as well. But if vibrato approaches an equal amount both ways, it will have a neighing effect.
"And many of them belong to opera singers. Why is it that they consider themselves exempt? "
Thank you for mentioning my video!
Hey, I suggested that the ear "catches" the crest of the wave
I think one of the big issues with this question is that the question isn't about whether it oscillates around a target frequency, but rather how far you can go above or below a target frequency and still have it sound like a usable note.
Simon, just for the record, in your introduction to vibrato on You-chewb, you use the same approach as me: wide wave motions "homing in" on the note.
..with Center spelled thus?
Well the spelling in Yorkshire is a little below par these days. The same goes for the whole of the UK. But it could be an American Oscillation Center (Centre), working away in Yorkshire ... My oscillation centre is well below the chin, by the way.
I've been downloading articles on analyses of violin & 'cello vibrato, which will keep me busy for a while
In Canada you would have to have the French word there too. I always wondered why a box of peaches would say "Peaches (peches)" and why something made out of cotton would say "Cotton (coton)" until I realize it was intended for French Canadians. Or violists.
The could be some truth in that Paul. But why stop at Baroque cellists? Could be all of 'em!
Paul, low notes solo may be hard to judge, but playing the violin or viola over an out-of-tune bass line is hell!
Perceived Pitch and Vibrato (Journal of Research in Music Education)
Adrian, you may be correct about relative pitch-spread of cello vibrato being narrower than violin or viola, but in my experience the optimum vibrato width and intensity may be relative to the characteristics of the specific instrument. My sense in playing all three of these instruments is that (in general) the appropriate vibrato is pretty much proportional to the frequency of the fundamental pitch - depending on how the instrument's overtones "cluster."
Sorry Adrian! Part of the words I've chosen have been due to my mediocre English.
Watching my colleagues closely, I find that cellists may vibrate more widely (longer strings!) but don't often quit the pad of the fingertip: I should expect a near sinusoidal pitch variation with very little timbre and intensity variations.
While I was reading Simon Fischer's
When all is said and done - what is true is what the O-scope shows when a person agrees that the note is "on pitch." Now this might not be the same for all people hearing it or playing it, but the O-scope will be correct.
Damian Hesse: There is more recent research done as well. But mainly from individuals. You can find it here for example:
Also we have to keep in mind that vibrato is made for concert halls and actually should be adjusted to the music and the accoustics you play in. When we hear recordings, most of the natural reverb is eliminated and therefore the vibrato of a soloist sounds sometimes unnatural. In a great hall from the distance it would sound much different.
Amazing series of videos! I like the one where he plays "under" then "around". To my ears, the "under" sounds in tune, and warm, while the "around" sounds slightly sharp, but could "project" better against an accompaniment.
Well, I have just recorded C5 2nd finger on the A-string and examined the results in Intonia for pitch, intensity and timbre.
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