Vibrato adds beauty, intensity and personal expression to string playing - but how do you accomplish it?
Paul Stein's blog this week got me thinking about vibrato and how we do it. Physically, it's a tricky feat. Starting with precision accuracy, the finger must then wobble fairly widely, without losing that sense of correct intonation. The fingertip remains in place, while the movement comes from either the wrist or the arm.
As a teacher I can attest to the fact that players arrive at that movement in many different ways. Certain vibrato exercises will open the gates of knowledge for one student while leaving another befuddled.
Some find it's easier to move from the wrist, while others move from the arm. Personally, I began with a wrist vibrato, trying to imitate the more advanced kids, without a lot of guidance from teachers. It worked - probably because I'm left-handed - and then in college my teacher taught me how to do an arm vibrato, which was easier when playing chords or very high notes.
What kind of vibrato do you use? Arm, or wrist? Or do you do both? Among those who do both, which kind of vibrato is most dominant? And just to describe them: In a wrist vibrato, the hand moves back and forth from the wrist. In an arm vibrato, the forearm moves from the elbow, and the wrist is not moving.
Please participate in the vote and then tell us about your vibrato adventures. What helped you learn it? Which is easier for you? Are you still learning, and what are your questions?
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