Fast Vibrato

May 22, 2004 at 08:05 PM · What exercises do you all use/recommend to speed up and strengthen your hand and finger vibratos?

Replies (19)

May 22, 2004 at 11:12 PM · Greetings,

Marco, if you have a slow vibrato you are lucky. It will speed up quite nicely onec you get on stage....;)

I think I would like to refine your quesiton a little bit. For me it is a question of the ability to vary the speed eithe rfaster orslower according to the demands of the music. Assuming that the basic mechanics are correctly in place (often not true....) then it isquite importnat to practice a basic vibratoexericse every day. For example, resting the hand on the violin in third positon practice dotted rythms and so on strating at a slow tempo and gettin up to 16ths at mm108.

The main fault I find in vibrato is studnets sustain the same fingertip pressure rather than recognizing that the backward movement is also a release of pressure upwards. thus the fingertip actually moves in a small circle. If you sustain the pressure then you will probably have a stifgf hand. So it also helps to practice a silent exercises in which the scroll rests against the wall and a slow vibrato is exceutes while paying atttention to this circular action.

I am not excatly sure how one would define 'a stronger' vibrato. Would this refer to level of abiltiy, for example? Thinking in terms of strength for the left hand tends to be a bit of a no-brainer,



May 23, 2004 at 01:50 AM · there is a violist that I have heard of who used no vibrato at all when in his string quartet. Literally none. I think he was in some Hungarian String quartet- not sure which...but anyways...

I think that people freak out to much over their vibrato. I mean I study vibrato and tried to speed it up and did speed it up nicely a few years ago, but usually I find that the biggest problem people have with vibrato is the way they use it, not whether it is fast enough or not. People think their vibrato is wrong, but in reality they are not using their vibrato to accentuate the phrase. Keep in mind that vibrato without variation and phrasing will always sound wrong and annoying. I am very much in the school of people who beleive that vibrato is much when you hear a singer who uses too much...UGH! Just make sure that you play to supplement the tone of your instrument and the phrase.

P.S. Yea I know that this doesn't have much to do with what you wanted to know but I just bought a recording of Yuri Bashment's Walton Viola Concerto....blech....way to much was in tune and all..clear..but that vibrato is just like....

May 23, 2004 at 02:34 AM · Having a nice big cup of coffee can do wonders!

May 23, 2004 at 02:52 AM · Greetings,

although nate and Brandon don"t mention prunes, I feel that both of them got to the heart of the problem.



May 23, 2004 at 03:39 AM · well i dunno, i think the wider range of vibratos you have at your disposal the more you can color. In terms of using too much vibrato or too wide etc. thats a matter of having good taste about it.

May 23, 2004 at 05:01 AM · I agree, the more vibrato speeds you have at your disposal the more coloring you can do. For instance a long note that starts out quiet and builds in dynamic level can benefit greatly from a quicker, more narrowed vibrato when it's quiet, but as it builds have the vibrato build in intensity. Different vibrato speeds also depends on the piece. You are going to be hard pressed to find a really warm, wide vibrato in something like a mozart sonata or concerto, but in a Brahms sonata or concerto you'd be less likely to find a quick narrow vibrato.

May 23, 2004 at 03:44 PM · Vibrato on Viola requires a special technic: You write a breve note with the annotation SOLO . Cheers

May 23, 2004 at 10:10 PM · Try setting the metronome to a slow tempo... about 60 or so. Then, vibrate to each beat. Then do eighth notes, sixteenths, and 32nds. Eventually, you'll feel comfortable with turning up the metronome after a few days of practice with this. While vibrato shouldn't necessarily be measured in a piece, it's a good way of practicing different speeds of vibrato, which you can later use to create different colors, moods, etc.

May 24, 2004 at 03:06 PM · I guess "stronger" wasn't a good word. Wider.. yes .. wider is a better word. There are times where I feel like my hand vibrato, mainly on my fourth finger and first finger, is too narrow and tight. I feel it necessary to use my arm in order to get some width in it. My problem probably comes from tension.

But to rephrase my question; What exercises do you all do/recommened in order to have a more controlled, relaxed, and wider vibrato?

May 24, 2004 at 04:34 PM · the way i developed mine was just be doing it very slowly and relaxed and playing around with different variables such as amount of wrist versus arm, width etc. i used to only do wrist which worked great for most things, but not so well for tenths, octaves and 2-4 thirds

May 25, 2004 at 03:23 AM · Greetings,

Marco, the width and speed of the vibrato is a function of flexibility in the fingertip (first joint). You might find it useful to practice soemthing called the Rivarde Exercise.

That is, Place your hand in third position (resting on the violin or not) Put your third finger on the string with no pressure and then collase the first joint so the first two joints of the finger form a straight line or slight dip. Return the finger to its normal curved playing shape. Repeat about ten times gradually increasing the pressure on the string but retaining the same sensation of relaxation that you had when there was no presure (to speak of) on the string. Repeat with all fingers and in various positions. This is a daily exercise.

If you have very loose finger joints then I do nopt recommend you use this exercise,



May 27, 2004 at 07:47 PM · I'm just at the very beginning stage of learning the "slow" vibrato. I've been strengthening my fingers and can barely execute a finger rocking motion. I can't seem to get it. Do you have any suggestions to make my brain understand what my finger/hand needs to do?

May 27, 2004 at 11:54 PM · Greetings,

forget the idea of finger strengthening.

Vibrato originates in the the bakc muscles and this powe rresource is filtered through a relaxed left shoulder. if you have a raised left shoulder then I do not think it is advisable to work on vibrato until it is resolved,

To begin wrk on vibrato one has o udnertsand that it is made up of a number of discrete elemnts that cna usefully be practiced separately.

To begin with, minus violin raise the arm up and practice waving the wrist backwards and forwards in rotted rythem with a metronome. Try various rythms and speeds. when you can do this well go bakc to the violin. It may take a week, two weeks or a month or whatever....

The fingertips (fingertip joint) controls the spped of the vibrato so you need to practice opening and closing them as an indpeendent execrise. That is calle the Rivarde exercise and should be easy to find on this list.

Pracitc ethis every day and also the old fashioned chromatic scale fingering 1122334112233 etc.

This scales make syou open and close your fingertip joint. After a couple of weeks of this work as again...



May 28, 2004 at 01:08 AM · i agree with buri that strength plays no role in vibrato, flexibility probably plays a minor role. I think relaxation is more important than anything

May 28, 2004 at 03:07 AM · Greetings,

yes. The problem of somehting as innately natural and in many ways holistic mechanism like vibrato is that if just one joint has tension then everything is screwed



May 29, 2004 at 03:00 AM · A good exersize when learning vibrato is to hold your left hand out in front of you, your arm vertical. Now rotate your hand back and forwards about your middle finger, keeping both your arm and your hand vertical. You can make this faster or slower to suit your needs. Hope this helps.

May 29, 2004 at 03:26 AM · Greetings,

Fraser has very kindly pinted out a very importnat but much neglected exercise. This was one of the most significant aspects of Oistrakh"s vibrato,



May 29, 2004 at 12:46 PM · I'm having a hard time visualizing the aforementioned exercise...

May 29, 2004 at 01:03 PM · Greetings,

Kismet, you know how you pronate and supinate the forearm. It is the same thing but with the arm erect,



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