June 13, 2013 at 06:03 PM · I have been working on improving my trills. Currently when I trill fast, it is more a combination of vibrato and trill. I have been trying to correct this with a number of trilling exercises. However my trills done correctly are still not as fast as I would like them to be. My question is whether it is a bad thing if I combine vibrato to make the trill faster?



Replies (21)

June 13, 2013 at 07:05 PM · For practice, I would work on trills w.o. any vibrato movement, to develop your fingers. In performance, if some vibrato mvt. comes into play, it's all right - as long as the trill is clearly articulated.

June 13, 2013 at 07:37 PM · Wouldn't it be better to learn the correct motion instead? You are probably not lifting your fingers fast enough, using the wrong muscles and are not relaxed.

June 13, 2013 at 07:43 PM · My first teacher was from the school that says to omit vibrato on trills. I've adhered to this method. Sevcik's Preparatory Trill Studies has valuable exercises. I recommend taking it in small doses, concentrating on your weaker areas. Going through the whole book is definitely overkill -- rather like running 600 yards in order to leap a 3-foot ditch.

June 13, 2013 at 07:54 PM · Agreed! Learn them without. Simon Fischer's Basics has many great ways to speed up trills.

June 13, 2013 at 09:28 PM · Don't think about putting your trilling finger down....concentrate instead on lifting it.

June 13, 2013 at 10:23 PM ·

June 13, 2013 at 11:09 PM · Greetings,

like Mattias says, you may have to start from the basic premise that you are too tense somewhere or the action is incorrectly. Unless this is given consideration exercises may not help that much and might be counter productive if overdone.

I respectfully disagree with the idea that Sevcik represents the most efficient solution to this problem. Ricci wrote in his Way They Play interview that this is the wrong path as opposed to short quick trills that don't tense the hand. In my opinion this approach works better. Fuhermore, I have found the Kreutzer trill studies to be the best material in this regard. Thoughtful daily work on these , assuming the basics are correct, works miracles. I also believe developing fast even trills is one of the keys to rapid passage playing. That is why I thinks Kreutzer followed his trill studies with the cadenza type study requiring considerable velocity in the le hand.

Incidentally, the speed of the trill is not fixed. It depends on the overall speed of the work in question. It is quite common to find rapid nervous trills in very slow works and , as Milstein rather gleefully pointed out, it sounds like someone has suddenly rung the front door bell.



June 14, 2013 at 01:01 AM · Any of the above material can be OK, if not done to excess. But I've developed 2 sets of trill exercises that I alternate on respective alternating days. They only take a couple of minutes, but are very focused and effective.

And yes, in repertoire, the trill should fit the style and feeling of the music.

June 14, 2013 at 01:12 AM · Sassmannshaus also refers to a technique with the bow on up bows starting towards the tip, that can make short trills sound faster.

Anyone care to comment on that?

June 14, 2013 at 03:24 AM ·

June 14, 2013 at 08:04 AM · hi Buri,

but you consider Kreutzer advanced material. how about less advanced etudes?

i came across mazas after a youtube search...

June 14, 2013 at 02:17 PM · That trill & vibrato combination is used in some folk music, particularly Hungarian/Eastern-European. Done well, it has a surprising, almost frenetic quality. I would not call it a suitable alternative for the "regular" trill.

June 14, 2013 at 02:21 PM ·

June 14, 2013 at 03:29 PM · One thing my teacher pointed out to me was that I was initiating my trills from the second knuckle rather than the first (closest to the wrist). Applying this change significantly eased the trills, hence increased speed, accuracy and clarity.

June 14, 2013 at 07:38 PM · Interestingly, Flesch was very supportive of using vibrato with trills, and said that some of the best 'trillers' did it that way.

June 14, 2013 at 11:49 PM · Greetings,

Tammuz, Mazas is great I think.

The reason I don't think Sevcik is necessary is that one should, in my opinion, be practicing fundamental left hand exercises in all manner f patterns with various fingers held down anyway. My favorite book in this respect is Drew Lecher's manual. Doing those exercises everyday would be more or less the same thing and one simultaneously focuses on specific finger at terns so overall virtuosity develops very quickly. Somewhat similar to Gerle's approach.

I am sure Raphael is ight although I can't recall Flesch saying that in his book. Have to check it. I know he describes a specific technique that uses the combination and gives it a German name that translates to goats trill, or something like that'.

I also know of good violinists who have had to use vibrato as artillery aid in very high positions where the hand is under some stretch. for example the high trills in the cadenza of the Brahms concerto.



June 15, 2013 at 12:32 AM · From Flesch:

"...combination of exercises which promises the solution of the problem


2) while trilling, the wrist is artificially loosened by executing a slow vibrato movement (to prevent stiffening of the wrist). Some excellent violinists are compelled to make use of this device (vibrato), even in public performance, in order to avoid the stiffening of the wrist."


"using a sharp bow accent nearly doubles the speed of the trill motion in a mordent. Many violinists who find it difficult to execute a moderately long trill, can obtain an excellent mordent with the help of a sforzando."

BTW, since this thread mentions vibrato, here are two more gems

"At times one encounters...violinists with a type of vibrato, which.... creates in the listener a certain 'malaise'.....Upon closer examination, one becomes aware that the vibrancy does not equally surround the exact pitch, but rather favours one direction, be it toward sharper or flatter will considerably lower the artistic level of the performance if it occurs frequently"


"...'coffee house' or 'movie-house' vibrato. The tone becomes a syrupy mush, which through its continuous unvaried use of vibrato lacks all diversity and deeper meaningful expressive ability. This type of vibrato is too slow and too wide and becomes quite unbearable within a short time"

June 15, 2013 at 09:26 AM · Stephen

Slightly OT, but could you expand a bit on how you're using Drew's hand position exercises?

June 15, 2013 at 09:34 AM · Just started playing around with trills (they're not much used in the types of music I play).

12 and 23 are passable, but for some reason 34 is excruciatingly slow - about 5 strikes a second. My hand is fairly relaxed and I'm throwing from the base joint so I think my technique is fairly correct. Is speed something that would develop in time, or should I just accept it as a limitation and use fingerings that avoid 34 trilling?

Looks like I'm not the only player that has trouble with 34 - I only use trills in Klezmer playing, and the excellent tutor I'm using always uses fingerings that allow 12 trilling!

June 15, 2013 at 03:06 PM · While my (distinguished) teacher taught me not to do vibrato on trills, it is interesting to read those who think differently and have posted. I think that 5 strikes per second is not bad for 34 trilling; I have not timed my trills but I would not worry if my 34 trilling were thus.

June 15, 2013 at 03:51 PM ·

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music: Check out our selection of Celtic music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Thomastik-Infeld's Dynamo Strings
Thomastik-Infeld's Dynamo Strings

National Symphony Orchestra
National Symphony Orchestra

Violins of Hope
Violins of Hope Summer Music Programs Directory
Find a Summer Music Program Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

ARIA International Summer Academy

Borromeo Music Festival

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine