Tension free rapid vibrato

March 1, 2007 at 03:33 AM · Alright everyone here is my BIG problem. I need to learn how to do a tensionless vibrato. Right now I can play with a fast triple rhthym vibrato but it costs so much tension that within a page and a half my left hand and arm are finished. I play with a wrist and finger vibrato--have never been able to tackle an arm vibrato despite practcing it. ANyone want to throw ideas at me?

Replies (62)

March 1, 2007 at 03:35 AM · That's very strange that you get tense with wrist vibrato, because that is supposed to be a hell of a lot more relaxed than arm vibrato. I think you should continue wrist, but try thinking that the energy is coming from your shoulder and back, or even the bicep, and not the forearm. When the forearm is tense, you will feel tense.

March 1, 2007 at 03:49 AM · Google Mimi Zweig--the preview video on her web site is about this. Beyond that, what I was shown is make sure also that the neck, shoulder, and as you will see in the Zweig clip, even your toes are relaxed.

"Everything" must be relaxed for vibrato--not that I'm there, but getting there. And the ability to jump on a note comes with time, so be patient--that's what I'm finding.

Also, from Hahn: Anticipate and even note which notes you are going to use it on.

Practice vibrato separately, slowly, and building the relaxation--that's the only way you will get consistent. The vibrato exercises at violinmasterclass.com was my approach--learning in 5th position, then back down the fingerboard.

March 1, 2007 at 04:28 AM · Greetings,

posisble sources of tension:

1) blocked rotation of left thumb.

2) Sustaining equal pressur eback and forth. Vibrtao is a cicular motion by the fingertip in which the presur eis release don the bakc movement. Practice vibrating on a note that is situated just a little above a harmoic such as a flat f on the a string. Roll the finger back to e but as a harmonic so you get an fefefefe pattern in dotted rythm.The harmonic should ring ou loudly however fast you get.

3) Left elbow to close to ribs. Cure, practice doin vib on right hand (back with thum on palm) Slowly raise the right hand over the left shoulder while contiuing to vibrate on it with left hand.

4) Tension in bas ejoint of firts finger.



March 1, 2007 at 06:00 AM · Try playing with a narrower vibrato. In fact try for the narrowest vibrato you can possibly produce. You might be amazed at how good it sounds and how much easier and more relaxed it is. Most violinists play with a vibrato that is too wide. So don't look to your colleagues for good models. Go to youtube.com and check out the Heifetz videos.

March 1, 2007 at 01:49 PM · Thanks all--

Buri--the circular motio sounds very interesting.

Roy-- the narrower my vibrato the tenser it gets.

I can make a beautiful sound--wish it were in tune all the time(hrumph) but it costs so much and I don't want to have to play everything without vibrato again like at the beginning but I'm get that feeling that I have to clean it up from the very beginning.

March 1, 2007 at 03:30 PM · Jay,

I easily sympathize with you...When I was a young fellow the mechanism with which I produced my extremely overtense vibrato was the same one that I used (in the other arm) for stiff-arm staccato!!! I thank God that Miss DeLay had the patience to teach me to totally reconstruct it! With the 20/20 hindsight of many years, I now understand why I originally had this tendency--it wasn't all bad. I had the sound of Heifetz's laser focus vibrato in my mind's ear. As a kid who passionately desired this quality, but hadn't the foggiest idea about what he was doing, my best attempt at approaching it evolved from this crazy mechanism, After my vibrato was corrected by Miss DeLay, I still used some remnant of bicep tension to fulfil the sound in my mind. Much more recently I learned of another, completely different technique for producing vibrato. It has been called "impulse vibrato". It is well explained on the Stephen Redrobe DVD. Stephen learned it from Erick Friedman. I prefer my present way of producing vibrato to anything I've done in the past. It makes much use of the "impulse vibrato" technique, yet it is built upon what I've learned in the past. The main idea is that the impulse vibrato technique is a way to get a focused "snap" in one's vibrato with far less physical effort than is expended in the "stiff-arm staccato vibrato".

I agree with what Roy Sonne says. So, if you find that narrowing your vibrato presently causes it to get more tense, my suggsestion is to make a project of learning to narrow your vibrato without excessive tension. Right now, when you restrict your vibrato width, you are no doubt setting up too much of a fight between the effort to move and the effort to restrict movement....hence the excessive tension. Narrow pitch excursion and a reasonably relaxed arm and hand are not mutually exclusive *if* you use the right mechanism.

March 1, 2007 at 05:45 PM · Oliver, what are the principles of this "impulse vibrato"?

March 1, 2007 at 05:51 PM · Yes, what is it. I've never heard of that.

March 1, 2007 at 07:08 PM · I had a friend who purchased the DVD, and went back to traditional approaches. So, for what it's worth.

March 1, 2007 at 07:48 PM · This is from a previous post:

Mr. Redrobe's excellent DVD largely credits finger vibrato for the "individuality" of sound created by the great violin masters of the early 20th century, rather than their use of gut strings or any particular violin. The fact that a player with a unique or characteristic sound can sound the same (i.e., like him or herself) regardless of the instrument played also suggests that technique is largely responsible. Kreisler's vibrato, "fingertip impulse vibrato" according to Mr. Redrobe, is quite different from arm or hand vibrato and is not primarily intended to alter the pitch of the note, but rather to impart a kind of energy to the string, which energy can be infinitely varied and personalized.

Mr. Redrobe indicates that fingertip impulse vibrato is accomplished by alternately pressing the string with the fingertip and releasing. The string never leaves the fingerboard and the fingertip never leaves the string. His superb analogy is to imagine a woodpecker who has had the tip of its beak superglued to a tree. Try as it might to peck at the tree, it gets nowhere. It's the same movement as opening and closing the hand, driven by the tendons in the arm that operate the fingers. If the hand and arm are completely relaxed they will move in a coordinated manner not unlike the arm and hand movements of Yehudi Menuhin in "Art of the Violin" but the arm and hand movements are passive/secondary and not the impetus for this type of vibrato, the active movement coming from the fingers. Mr. Redrobe states that Kreisler used only this type of vibrato as confirmed by conversations with Henry Roth and privately by Yehudi Menuhin.

According to Mr. Redrobe, aside from adding interest and complexity to the sound, vibrato allows you to play louder by strengthening the string, enabling you to exert more bow pressure and pull a bigger sound from the violin.

The DVD and other info can be found at: http://stephenredrobe.com/

March 1, 2007 at 11:26 PM · Again, no thanks--already been there.

March 1, 2007 at 11:56 PM · My daughter's teacher suggests playing vibrato against the wall ( placing the scroll on the wall). This allows the thumb and hand to relax to get a nice swing.

March 2, 2007 at 05:52 AM · Enosh,

Anthony describes it very well above. However there is one point in Stephen Redrobe's description of impulse vibrato which I question:

(impulse vibrato is)..."not primarily intended to alter the pitch of the note, but rather to impart a kind of energy to the string."

First of all, "not primarily intended" gets me wary, because intentions are beside the point being discussed. However, I'm comfortable with interpreting his statement to mean that he believes that the changing finger pressures, rather than the resulting changing pitches, cause the oscillating timbre. My perception is different. I think that *the pitch change itself*, though minute, is what causes the oscillating timbre. I believe that the teensy pitch change needs to be on *exactly* the right pitches to get maximum throb. Friedman was a master of this. The more closely one listens to his vibrato the more one may appreciate how exactly right were the pitches within it.

I'm also convinced that impulse vibrato is properly done in a way which is mechanically opposite to the more well known "rocking vibrato". In both types the desired pitch coverage is with the in tune "melody pitch" being the highest pitch in it. In both types the "ornamenting pitches" are below, never above the selected melody pitch. The difference is that when the vibrato is stopped on a properly produced rocking vibrato, the pitch heard should be exactly the desired melody pitch. However, when the vibrato is stopped on an impulse vibrato the finger will be resting on a pitch which is flatter than the desired one. The tap of the finger brings the pitch from the flat (ornamenting) pitch to the desired (melody) pitch. In other words, if one wishes to play a note without vibrato, in the midst of using impulse vibrato, he will need to place the finger very slightly higher on the string. The two techniques are backwards to one another in my view. Listening to Heifetz, Friedman and Seidel, especially obvious in Seidel, persuades me that this is true....The finger is being placed below pitch and then tapped into pitch. The brief tap is what gives the snappy upswing to the impulse vibrato.....an easier way to get it than by bicep tension!

I believe that impulse vibrato resembles a trill not only in that the mechanism is similar.....There is also an aesthetic kinship between the impulse vibrato and the trill: They both sound more pleasing when the time spent on the two pitches is *unequal*. I think that beautiful trills, like beautiful vibrato has something of a dotted rhythm in it. To my ear, a vibrato which spends equal, or near equal, time on all the pitches within it sounds flabby and unfocused. The vibratos of the above mentioned players have the snap. For me, what seems to confirm these aesthetic, ear-training aspects of the vibrato is that a close listening to a beautiful singer's vibrato confirms the aesthetic basis of Heifetz's vibratos: Both are not always as fast at they first seem, but they are enormously focused. This gives it an intense quality which is easily confused with extreme speed. (Of course I am speaking with full appreciation that Heifetz doesn't have *a* vibrato, rather he has a thousand vibratos, and indeed his range does include some very fast vibrato, yet all of his vibratos seem to adhere to certain aesthetic principles. The aesthetic underpinning seems to use the human voice vibrato as the basic model.

March 2, 2007 at 12:50 AM · In my post above I wrote:

" My perception is different. I think that *the pitch change itself*, though minute, is what causes the oscillating timbre"

This paragraph from the Finnigan and Klaembt web site seems to pursue the same line of thought.


Scroll down the page to: "Playing with Resonances".

March 2, 2007 at 12:56 AM · Oliver, I'm curious: when you said "I prefer my present way of producing vibrato to anything I've done in the past. It makes much use of the "impulse vibrato" technique, yet it is built upon what I've learned in the past."

How much of the impulse do you use and what is the other part that you've "learned in the past."? My vibrato is pretty relaxed, except sometimes my bicep gets a bit tense and I've also noticed that on certain positions and fingers I can't get that "snapping" vibrato. I'll try the impulse but I'm curious as to specifically how you do vibrato since you said you don't only use impulse.

March 2, 2007 at 01:08 AM · Oliver,

I would also very much like to hear about how you've combined impulse vibrato with other types/techniques.



March 2, 2007 at 01:05 AM · Enosh,

I now use tapping, rather than bicep tension to get the snap. I sometimes use a -completely from the finger, everything else passive-vibrato and sometimes allow the arm or hand to play a gently assisting active role. That is my best attempt to describe it as accurately as I can, however I'm open to the possibility that further study may cause me to modify the description.

March 2, 2007 at 01:36 AM · Jodi, I've heard two distinct perceptions about playing against the wall: do and don't.

Both make sense and I still use it a little, but at the same time, I focus 'intently' on ensuring that no tension is accumuating anywhere--something I didn't do before; and, 'I think' counteracted the benefits of what you are talking about.

March 2, 2007 at 03:49 AM · Jay,

Here is a little routine that has helped me persoanally and also several of my students. Play in third position. Start with your best finger (usually 2 or 3) Play a long note with a slow (but not uncomfortably slow) bow speed with no vibrato. After you have played 2 or three whole bows, add the tiniest bit of vibrato you possibly can for another 2 or three bows. Then go to the next note of the scale and repeat the process, always starting with no vibrato and letting your hand get completely comfortable and balanced on each finger.


March 2, 2007 at 04:17 AM · Jay, since narrower makes it more tense, make sure you aren't trying to increase the speed when you make it narrower. If you make it progressively narrower and slower, at some point the tension has to disappear. Also, think of it coming from the inertia of the weight of the hand, not so much muscular.

March 2, 2007 at 06:15 AM · I just today tried some of the impulse vibrato sort of mixed with regular wrist vibrato. It seems to work pretty well, like previously stated producing a sharper oscillation. It is also more relaxed, but it's kind of hard to do it in fast tempos.

March 2, 2007 at 05:24 PM · Kreisler's vibrato has less tension than Heifetz's, which sounds sometimes more "muscular"...and I would consider Kreisler's more appropriate in terms of an ideal,because of the inherent singing quality it displays. I cannot imagine a singer using the same approach as Heifetz. Young, Heifetz was closer than Kreisler and his vibrato was never excessive... It started to change after 1925 and you can hear, in Vieuxtemps 4, that it became a "virtuoso tool" in his hands. I love the way Heifet'z plays Vieuxtemps 4, but he started to apply the same recipy, for instance, in Beethoven's Kreutzer or other classics.

Vibrato is a very personnal matter and can hardly be explained in technical terms...it is to much bounded to the soul... To sound natural,it must be felt naturally. Praticing slow scales(andante) with a short ,and CONTINUOUS vibrato can help, depending on which position you are playing. The higher you get, the better it sounds with the arm vibrato...in lower positions, a combination of the 3 ( finger,wrist and arm ) is more appropriate. But there are no predefined rules, because all depends of the music you are playing.


March 2, 2007 at 06:54 PM · Something Mr. Steiner said put me in mind of something, though I'm sure you will figure this out very well on your own despite my lame advice.

As I was studying the exercises in Kreutzer dealing with trills (it's that section in the book which should be entitled "death by trills"--don't have my book handy, I think it's in the vicinity of 15-22 or so), the light clicked on one day. I was having to throw trills into sixteenth note runs, having a horrible time doing it when I realized the movement to be akin to vibrato. It's not the exact movement, but I employ the same reflexes to make a quick trill that I do to form a tensionless narrow vibrato (impulse vibrato). In other words, when I perform those Kreutzer exercises and it's going well, the trills feel kind-of like vibrato (I can feel them coming from the same place).

I'm sure others will explain this phenomena better. I'm no good at the scientific aspect of playing. I only mention it because I wonder if those trill exercises in Kreutzer could help you learn an impulse vibrato. If you decide to give it a go, you must sight read them at performance speed. It'll be a wreck that way the first few times through. But, you can't tap into the reflexes you need unless you play it faster. IMHO this is not one of those things you can learn by practicing slowly.

March 2, 2007 at 06:59 PM · Kimberly: you are absolutely right!!! Vibrato is like trills...there is a lot of similitude between the two and the impulse kind of feeling...

March 2, 2007 at 07:25 PM · OK everyone. Thank you for all of your input. Now here comes part 2. I think I'm understanding the laser quality of the impuse vibrato and it certainly changes the quality of the sound while at the same time it eliminates a lot of tension. But it also tends to sound like Rafael Druian--Oliver Steiner will doubtless know who I mean--he was concertmaster of Cleveland and Minneapolis 50 years ago and he had a vibrato which was annoyingly fast and impulse doesn't exactly lend itself to various speeds of its very nature. The trouble is that knowledge is a one way street and you don't exactly forget the tools that have been thrown at you when they fix certain problems.

March 2, 2007 at 07:42 PM · Jay wrote:

<<...impulse doesn't exactly lend itself to various speeds of its very nature.>>

I'm certainly no expert on the subject but this has not been my experience in experimenting with impulse vibrato. I find that the speed can be varied greatly and, when used in combination with other techniques such as those described by Oliver, so can the width.

In a previous thread on this topic, someone (I forget who) mentioned that impulse vibrato varied the pitch both above and below the "desired" note. I'm not so sure about this either. When the impulse is applied at an angle, I see no reason why it can't simply lower the pitch, as is desirable with most other vibrato techniques as well.

Passive arm/hand movements, if completely relaxed, may assist the impulse by adding momentum. When using impulse vibrato and keeping the hand/arm completely relaxed, the only real difference from the other types is that the impulse of the finger is what causes the rocking motion of the arm/hand unit, rather than the arm/hand themselves.

Anyone else have thoughts on this?


March 2, 2007 at 08:21 PM · Anthony, I'm with you. When you've really tapped into those reflexes and mastered them, you can vary the speed and orientation in any way you desire.

I find my hand and thumb have a lot to do with the color of my vibrato.

For instance, in the Beethoven Romance in F, I like to begin on the E string. After considering all angles, I prefer my E string F natural because it gives me the soaring, honest, straitforward tone I'm looking for. The challenge was getting the vibrato to match. I needed something sweet, relaxed, not pinched. But, with my hand backed up against the pegbox, it wasn't happening until I collapsed my wrist a bit and relied on my wrist and finger to carry the vibrato.

This example, I'm sure, applies only to me, but I'm using it as an illustration of the process one can go through to determine the color of one's vibrato. It involves so many details.

Oh! And I completely forgot the issue of which finger you're using. All my fingers have different colors of vibrato. So, fingers have their say in the matter along with the hand.

If you can, Jay, you should try to play on a Cremonese instrument. A few minutes with one of those instruments will teach you something about vibrato--at least it did me! Del Gesus (I haven't tried anything else) really like it better when you relax. A pinched, too tense vibrato comes out sounding pretty funky on a Del.

March 2, 2007 at 08:18 PM · Anthony wrote:

"in a previous thread on this topic, someone (I forget who) mentioned that impulse vibrato varied the pitch both above and below the "desired" note.

To my way of listening and thinking that statement is absolutely incorrect. As I mentioned earlier, the vibrato should go only below and back to the "melody pitch". Impulse vibrato can do that just as well as rocking vibrato. The difference is in that with rocking vibrato the finger is at rest on pitch, but with impulse vibrato the finger is at rest below pitch and tapped up to pitch.

March 2, 2007 at 10:10 PM ·

March 2, 2007 at 08:37 PM · It's amazing how precisely people here understand the mechanics of vibrato. I just started using vibrato one day and no one ever really told me how. So, my only advice would be to do what feels natural, because that's what I did. It's one of the few aspects of my playing which I don't really need to work on.

March 2, 2007 at 09:56 PM · The correct impulse is : hit the correct note in pitch first, then, go below and back again to the perfect pith, as long as you need, across or over the fingerboard, and not in a longitimal( sideways) manner... You must have a free shoulder, free arm (forearm and upper-arm), free wrist, with the vibrato-finger hold GENTLY and FIRMLY in the same time on the finger-board ,allowing the finger-tips to move freely back and foward...Do it slowly, "à la SZIGETI" for a while...It is easier to start in third position because the impulse comes more from the wrist that way ( for the majority of violinists)...In the second position and the first, the impulse starts from the arm and is transmitted to the wrist and then, to the fingers... Then, when you feel free in slow motion, you can start to speed up, and in due time, fell the sensation of vibrato as if you were doing a nice, resonant, light and sustained trill...It is always advisable to keep in mind not to block the whole process by compressing the violin with your neck and left shoulder. Violins should never be hold with the left shoulder...Raising the left shoulder destroys all the fundamental technic in violin playing...and this applies also to the bow...Both shoulders should always be kept in their natural position...

Marc...Have a nice week-end everyone!

March 2, 2007 at 11:28 PM · Pieter, the problem with what you said is that a lot of people try to sound like Heifetz without knowing the proper technique and develop an extremely tense vibrato, and what may feel "natural" to them might not give them the desired sound or speed. There is definitely a lot of technique concerned with vibrato.

March 2, 2007 at 11:52 PM · Enosh, I get what you're saying, and I'm very conscious of a great deal of left and right hand technique, but I achieved my vibrato pretty much just by doing it.

All I can say is that I think you should always be conscious of speed and width, and be able to vary your vibrato based on character, because a one size fits all vibrato is not good.

March 3, 2007 at 12:56 AM · Well if it just came to you, that is really awesome. But a lot of people, including me, learn it wrong if they just teach it to themselves.

March 3, 2007 at 05:09 AM · Brief question,

When I do (arm) vibrato on the E string, with fingers 1 or 2, my hand knocks against the string peg. Am I doing something wrong?

March 3, 2007 at 02:55 PM · Noel,

Lots of violin students benefit from re-thinking where they will place the hand for first position. The error is that they base the hand placement of first position upon the location from which their fingers can touch the first position notes. Unfortunatey there are a *number of locations along the violin neck* which will fulfil this criterion, but not all of them allow facile movement. The exact placement should take into account the size of the individual's hand, but a good general guideline is to find the place at which the first finger stretches back to reach F natural on the E string about as much, or nearly as much, as the 4th finger reaches up to play B natural. Before one has done this the fourth finger is doing all of the stretching and the first finger is doing none. Sometimes violin students find that the new hand placement is near where they used to play second position!

Some advantages of fine-tuning one's first position hand placement are: 1. It's no longer neccesary to shift arm back and forth while playing in first position. 2.Intonation becomes more reliable. 3.The fourth finger becomes merely the fourth finger, rather than "the dreaded fourth finger"! 4. As you move the hand in the direction of your face while your finger is on a note, you will see the hand swivel on the fingertip so as to bring the finger more toward perpindicular to the string--this is a good thing for general left hand facility.

The tricky thing about learning a new hand placement is that at first the pitches are not as good as before because the tactile cues have changed. Sometimes that tricks people into going back to their good old familiar former hand placement, and they are back at square one. ("The enemy of progress is familiarity!") A helpful focus of concentration for training oneself to use the new, reconsidered, hand placement is to be especially receptive to the possibility of reaching back with the first finger.

March 5, 2007 at 08:52 PM · Oliver--You have a very good way of explaining things. The "Auer" thumb position has been very helpful to me. Everything seems to evolve depending on the demands of the performer and the music.

I took one lesson with a teacher some years ago who introduced the idea of "stretching" as opposed to shifting for everything. As I worked with that idea, I came to realize moving my thumb was part of that picture. It's interesting the things you learn because one good lesson leads you to important discoveries.

I hope people are paying attention to your last post, because what you have stated is key.

Marc--we're certainly on the same page about the free shoulder issue. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one. Glad to know I'm not completely outnumbered.

March 5, 2007 at 10:41 PM · Greetings,

now ther e are three of us! Four if you count Zhakar Bron....Cheer,s


March 6, 2007 at 03:19 AM · I also agree anyone interested in this impulse type vibrato should try out Steve Redrobes dvd from String Academy. I purchased the dvd and found it very interesting, especially the tone segment. In regards to the violinist who went back to traditional ways after viewing the dvd, he probably did not give this technique enough time to sink in. The impulse vibrato is not easy to master. However In my opinion, this technique when properly used, gives a sweeter , more passionate sound in violin tone. Just listen to Kreisler & Heifetz. If I am not mistaken, Kreisler only used an impulse vibrato.

March 6, 2007 at 11:29 AM · A thread on fast vibrato HAS to include Gitlis!

But if you listen intently to his playing it is not omnipresent by ANY means its just when its there its warp-speed! As soon as you try to apply vibrato at set parameters it becomes tense. Practice really wide and slow vibrato (sounds awful) and just that in itself lets you suddenly apply a multitude of different vibratos to different notes.

Vibrato is a VERY funny thing to deal with

March 6, 2007 at 12:43 PM · I feel your pain! My vibrato is far from perfect or even as desirable as I'd like it (probably would suit a viola more because I have issues getting it faster)...


I saw a great leap when I was playing Bach. It was my viola teacher who said to practice vibrato on every note, and that it will sound like &*%! at first, but sometimes you need to go through those stages.

Practice it slow and wide...it's easier to firm up rather than to loosen up if you start too narrow and tense.

Try doing it to a metronome for starters. 60 -92-120 being your bench marks, but trying ones in between, with one oscillation, two oscillations, and three oscillations (in sequence, like do one oscillation from 60-120, then start at the same vibrato speed at 60 but you'll be starting with two oscillations and so on).

It helped me begin grasping this idea better also.

Good luck!

March 6, 2007 at 04:05 PM · In my experience, it's easier to de-tensify a fast narrow vibrato than it is to speed up a slow one, but that's a chicken or the egg thing--it doesn't really matter.

Interesting you bring up Gitlis--and you're so right! He doesn't vibrato every note. He uses vibrato for color, the way it ought to be used, in his highly quirky, completely individualistic manner.

I just noticed last night while I was practicing that I tend to use a wrist vibrato when I'm employing that gentle quick, tensionless impulse stuff.

For whatever reason, I learn through images. When developing any technique, I have to make some sort-of image connection to develop what I'm after. Here's a good image for visualization purposes that might help someone who's wired up like me develop impulse vibrato:

Your hand is like a leaf in the Fall which is connected to the branch by one tiny stem, which is your finger, half broken, just about to fall off the branch. The wind rushes by and the leaf quivers in the wind. That quivering in the wind is my impulse vibrato.

March 6, 2007 at 05:00 PM · Get a book on the Dounis method. It's been really good for me. Playing without tension is super important to not develop tendonitis. Best of Luck.

March 6, 2007 at 08:27 PM · A belated thanks to you, Oliver for your helpful reply; I have not been able to get on to the site for a couple of days. I am looking forward to trying your suggestions out when I get home this afternoon.

March 7, 2007 at 03:06 AM · A very poetic thought, the leaf shaking gently in the breeze.

Regarding vibrato, I was listening to a Heifetz cd yesterday, playing Lalo. Normally I always adore Heifetz, but yesterday I had to turn him off. On that particular recording, on that day, I thought his vibrato sounded way too big, wide, and distracting. I got the mental picture of a big, wavy line (like a sine wave) rather than a melodic line.

What is happening to me? Am I turning by degrees into an early music person? No, I don't think so. I then put on the Ilya Gringolts recording of the Tchaikovsky concerto and I loved it. As Gennady wrote once, to each his own.

March 7, 2007 at 03:53 PM · I think you have to keep in mind in that in a large concert hall, the "wide " vibrato sounded glorious...(so I have heard, I have never heard JH live).

March 7, 2007 at 07:30 PM · When vibrato is bothersome it is never because of the amplituted or frequency.....never.

Its lack of variety that kills its purpose otherwise oistrakh wouldn't be liked much (his vibrato is very wide)

March 7, 2007 at 09:42 PM · Oistrakh's vibrato is WIDE? Really?

March 11, 2007 at 06:03 AM · Buri, what do you mean by the blocked rotation of the left thumb?

March 11, 2007 at 11:48 AM · Jay, why don't you make a video of your vibrato and upload it? I'm sure everyone could give you better suggestions just by seeing your vibrato, just a thought!

Or, better yet, can anyone upload a video of an example of this finger impulse vibrato you've been talking about?

March 11, 2007 at 03:33 PM · Since much of the pain occurs in high positions I think I have found out part of the cause. I think what has happened is that while I have been concentrating on the Wagner I have slacked off on my Sevcik. The Sevcik is physically painful for me--my hand aches constanttly and I think that what it does is that it forces me to find less painful solutions to the problems it represents because those problems are present from the get go they are not something that I work into as the piece goes on--the Sevcik is about the physical pain for me and when I play those regularly I discover little ways of making it less painful. In that regard the violin is a lot like medicine--it is not so much something that is taught as it is something that is learned--one mistake at a time. To solve the issues of pain I have to be nose against it constantly from the simplest to the most complicated ways of encountering it. The Wagner is not so painful except in little doses--the Sevcik is all painful--well, mostly all.

March 11, 2007 at 06:11 PM · Jay Azneer wrote: "To solve the issues of pain I have to be nose against it constantly "

I believe that is a very correct and healthy idea. **Pain can be a teacher: In violin playing, whatever brings it on is wrong!** Therefore I never want to ignore it. Rather I want to play with the violin as a child plays with a toy, trying everything every which way, and paying close attention to how I feel. If a pain signal is received I want to immediately respond by changing what I'm doing. If I sense a lessening or absence of pain I take it as a positive reenforcement.

March 29, 2007 at 01:47 AM · HI

I can not understand all of the discussion.

Are You playing every single not with a vibrato?

If so,it is the same as You painting every thing around You in pink, or offer Your listeners honey,honey and nothing else but honey. Having herd life performance of most 20th century famous violinists,I found that vibrato of Daniel Grach was the most colorful and rich,one problem He vibrate every single note . Because of that in 15 minute every one would get tired of this flow of "honey and honey only diet,"

The vibrato is a gift, if it is Your habit to bring gifts to Your friend every time You visit

him/her You are going to be in trouble when You will come without gifts(empty handed), just common sense.

Best Regards

March 29, 2007 at 03:15 AM · Vibrating every note is what makes a lot of music come alive. The question is about how many different types of vibrato one has. If you use one kind of vibrato for every type of music and every single note, of course you will get sick of it really fast. However, what about someone like Heifetz? He vibrates every note yet it does not all sound the same. It makes the music very alive.

March 29, 2007 at 05:01 AM · Mikhail,

If someone said to you: "Using the bow on every single note results in dull, unimaginative playing!" I imagine you might possibly respond by saying: "Using the bow on every note does not result in dull, unimaginative playing...Rather it is *using the bow the same way* on every note which is undesirable." I believe the same applies to vibrato.

March 29, 2007 at 08:49 PM · Jay....

as for pain in the higher positions while doing vibrato...

Do you have more of a wrist vibrato?

You might want to check how your thumb is coming around the neck of the instrument and the angle it is placing your hand in. Also, even places like the violinmasterclass.com talk about how even if you normally have a wrist vibrato normally, that the arm has to take over in the higher positions.

Watch yourself in the mirror and see what's going on when you shift up.

March 30, 2007 at 01:07 AM · I find I can use an arm vibrato up to 5th position. If I play in 5th position or higher I use wrist vibrato. The wrist vibrato in higher positions for me work well, especially on the G string.

March 30, 2007 at 04:21 AM · I ask my listeners to wag their heads back and forth really fast.

March 30, 2007 at 08:32 PM · I can't use that link to Redrobe, it comes across as not available. When I eventually get in to his site I don't see any videos there at all. Where is is?


March 31, 2007 at 01:05 AM · Be ready to actively participate there, or you'll get booted.

March 31, 2007 at 04:38 AM · Try this. Make a fist and tense your left hand as much as possible for about 10 seconds. Then immediately vibrato. Sometimes this works.

March 31, 2007 at 05:53 AM · I got booted. I decided not to go back because I couldn't handle the pressure of having to think of something to write. Sometimes, I just don't have anything to write.

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