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Amy Jean

The Never Ending Technique of Vibrato...

November 10, 2009 at 2:42 AM

 Hello. You could say that I am a beginner to the violin just because I do not know how to do vibrato. I desperately want to learn how to do it but my teacher cannot teach me because she is busy practicing with us for our january concert. (Btw in reality I am in advanced). So does anyone have any tips at all on the technique of vibrato???

From Stephen Brivati
Posted on November 10, 2009 at 3:31 AM


I think this is more of a discussion than a blog for what it@s worth.

However,  consider the following:   vibrato has speed and width.  The latter refers to the degree that the finfirst joint of the finger straightens and the fingertip rolls back.   The degree of width and (usually) consequernt speed is controlled by this join tnear the finger nail.  If this joint is very stiff then you need to exercise it.  The standard exercis is referred to as the `Rivarde` after it`s inventor.  Start by placing the second finger on the stringwithout decompressing the string.  It just rests on the surfac.  Apply pressur ethrough the fingertip untilthe joint collapses and then reelase it to its original shape. Reepat this action ten time.  Then practice keeping the same degre eof relaxation in the finger ,  doing the same `collaps and return` and gradually adding weight throuhg the finger so that the string moves towards the fingerboard.  Gradually return to having no pressure on the string.  Exercise all the finger tip sin this way.  If your fingertips are loose you don`t need this exercises.

To develop and arm vibrato start with the second fnger in third or fourth position.  Place the first finger a tone behind the second.  This stabilizes the hand.  Do not allow the hand to touch the body of the violin in the wrist area. Although this is not considered normal it is important. Usually a student is tols `rest the wrist against the violin to isolate the hand.`  Actually this does not really do the isolation and the result is the hand swnging in one diretcion and the arm swinging in the other which is a caus eof tension.  The ifdea of the arm vibrato is that the forearm hand and fingertip all move as one unit.  Play a whole bow and allow the unit to do one or two vibrato omvements during that bow stroke.  Its very slow.  This is not fast vibrato time.   Stay with this small number of vacuum cleaner sounds until you feel confdent enough to add a few more..  Keep in mind that the  fnger tip does not keep a constant pressure on the string.  As it rolls back it releases the pressure and a sit returns ot its original shape it rolls back into the string .  in other words the finger tip is making a kind of circular motion.   If you keep a constant pressure on the string through the back swing and return you will build up tension.

Don`t forbet that a good vibrato goes below the note and back. It does not go above the note as this will make your playing sound horribly sharp. 

Ths is the basic method for arm vibrato. If you wenat a wrist vibrato then ther eis a whole series of exericses in the book `basics` by Simon Fischer that you really should study.  I don`t thnk ther eis any better reosurrce for vibarto development material.



From Dimitri Adamou
Posted on November 11, 2009 at 11:47 AM

Personally, I don't like the sound of a strong vibrato, I have recently been opened up to the world of the Bow and it can make some pretty magical sounds when done right.

However, when I wish to do a vibrato, I will stick my thumb out and I will pretty much wave my hand back and forth, using my thumb as the lever (whatever you will call it), I find it harder in 1st position however :) I find it a good idea to practice my vibrato in 3rd to 5th position (anything higher and Im still working out the formula to play it well :P)

I do it sparingly however.

From Amy Jean
Posted on November 11, 2009 at 6:03 PM

 Buri once again thank you for your great advice. I am bringing my violin home this weekend to practice and will definitely practice this technique. Also dimitri I tried playing in first position and it didnt work out too well so I will do it in 3rd-5th position. Thx again!!!


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