Arm vibrato vs wrist vibrato
I've been taking lessons for about 6 months, first Suzuki, then had to move and switch teachers, and now I'm learning to read first, with some technique thrown in.
The teacher early on asked me about my vibrato, and I said I had none. A few weeks ago we started trying some.
Doing arm vibrato makes the violin feel like it is about to jump out of my hands. I seem to naturally do wrist vibrato, which she said she'd accept, but I'm continuing to attempt arm vibrato.
I just saw two videos on YouTube (first two I came across, chosen at random) and one says that arm vibrato is prone to causing injuries,
Ray Chen Wrist Vibrato
and the other video was by a Russian woman who said arm vibrato is not taught in Russia, and is not a very good style of vibrato.
Russian take on arm vibrato
I'm sure if I kept looking through videos, I'd find proponents of arm vibrato, but, I'm just going to throw it out here.
Ok, I looked further and found this, which is helpful and addresses some difficulties for me:
Duane Padilla arm vibrato
What are your opinions on arm and wrist vibrato? Any truth to the negative comments made in the first two videos I viewed?
The thing about the internet is that anyone can make a video...and that isn’t always a good thing.
Just going by feel, wrist seems the most natural starting point, and finger and arm are just outliers either side of it.
For me personally, wrist vibrato was a lot easier.
First of all, I feel no vibrato should make the violin shake: that would suggest there is gripping (as opposed to supporting), from the left hand.
I don't think one should try vibrato until some facility in shifting positions has been gained. At least learn to play in 3rd position too.
Vibrato should be taught after being fluent in the first and third positions. It'll make life easier.
Curiously when I have a long slow note at the end of a piece I find that arm vibrato is LESS likely to give my bow the DTs.
Whatever the mechanism, the result is the same, a rotation, pivoting at the finger-tip. With the arm vibrato , the wrist does not bend, and the thumb must not move; you don't want the vibrato to pull you into another position. In general, what I see is that those who do not use a shoulder rest also need to support the violin with the base of the 1st finger, so the wrist vibrato is preferred. In upper positions the wrist vibrato becomes more necessary. Contrary to what I have read in some method books, I would Not use the sliding motion to learn vibrato. The sliding motion is used to: adjust intonation, expressive audible slide, changing half-steps on the same finger.
I can't imagine that after only six months of study, you are ready to learn any vibrato.
Thanks all. I will see what my teacher says to the idea that positions should be learned first. We did a little of that. I brought up the vibrato later on, after she mentioned it at the beginning, and maybe she's just trying to go with my impulses. I can say that I generally do not produce a nice sound attempting vibrato.
Some more advanced players do not have a (subjective) "nice sounding" vibrato, so no shame in just being patient and keep working on everything else just as well-if not more. It is not as important at this time than most other things still to be learned (no offense intended, to be sure.)
Bushkova's opinion on arm vibrato seems to match my teacher's, who studied in the Soviet system. Mine is pretty tense, but I never work on an arm vibrato.
I related the general response on here, that it's too early in my lessons to be tackling vibrato, to my teacher tonight. Her response was "but you haven't been just taking lessons for 6 months, you've been playing forever". This is......sort of true. I've played around with it since 2003, but was painted into a corner. Played by ear, couldn't read, and only played in A. I was fiddling too, so, sort of raw dance music. I don't consider my previous playing of immense import, but, she does compliment me that I'm playing in tune (except for C#), and I play with a little bit of style. She's also very supportive, so, I don't know how reality based her comments are. I kinda like hearing them though.
Arm vs. wrist seems to be a very individual thing. I've noticed two general trends, though:
I wear 16 34/35 shirts. My arms and torso are longer than normal (1.5-2"). I think a big problem of mine is I'm still supporting the violin with my left hand to a large degree, not relying on my neck to hold things, and loosening up my hand grip makes things feel uncontrolled.
David, you just started arm vibrato a couple of weeks. Between arm and wrist, people will naturally find one to be easier, and the other will be hard and takes some time to accommodate. Learners display all sorts of clumsiness when they first learn it, but if in the right direction with good teaching, you will succeed.
My default is wrist vibrato. Arm vibrato is useful for some things and I often use it for circumstances where wrist vibrato is either not practical or not comfortable. However, I've known a few violinists who exclusively use arm vibrato for EVERYTHING. The result is that everything they play sounds overworked, labored, and sloppy.
So when playing in a string trio or quartet, is it preferable to use an arm vibrato to be in sync with the cellist and violist perhaps? Or does it not matter?
Doesn't matter. Just be mindful of your role in the ensemble at any given time. Vibrato should be subtle when blending. A wider vibrato may be warranted when playing melodic lines, depending on style of music.
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