Vibrato w/o Shoulder Rest: How much does your violin shake?

July 15, 2017, 6:12 PM · I've been focusing pretty heavily on learning vibrato, lately—this is something I'd like to ask other violinists who play w/o a SR.

How much does your violin shake?

I haven't yet incorporated my [non-existant!] vibrato into playing, but I don't think mine shakes enough that it'd seriously hinder me—but I do think it shakes too much.

What do you find to be an acceptable amount of violin-shake? I feel like, ideally, zero shaking is preferred, so that your fingers move only with respect to the fingerboard and leave the violin as a whole untouched (but that's... unrealistic [I think?])

Replies (7)

July 16, 2017, 4:45 AM · My violin doesn't shake at all up to the fourth position, no matter which finger I use to vibrate. In the fifth position and higher it does wiggle a tiny bit when I vibrate with 3rd and 4th finger but it's not aesthetically distracting, I think. Vibrating with the 4th finger makes my violin shake more than vibrating with the 3rd (because the 4th is weaker/shorter and I have to use greater motion? ).
How tight you grip the neck may have an impact on how much the violin shakes.

Fun fact: My teacher plays with a SR and her violin shakes more than mine ;)

And, btw, I use arm vibrato :)

July 16, 2017, 8:41 AM · I think it is useful to look at videos of great violinists, mostly from the past, who don't use shoulder rests.
July 16, 2017, 2:24 PM · If the violin rests on a truly flexible thumb, but only against the base of (not on) the index, it shouldn't shake much.
July 17, 2017, 3:01 AM · I'm just learning the vibrato where only the forearm+hand moves without shoulder rest or chin rest. Shakin' all over!
July 17, 2017, 3:27 AM · That shaking you are experiencing is called "freedom".
July 17, 2017, 3:34 AM · If you can play a long delicate soft note close to the fingerboard, while vibrating it, and your bow is not disturbed, the shaking is tolerable. If the shaking would disturb your bow that would be intolerable.
Edited: July 20, 2017, 9:07 PM · Wrist and finger vibrato have a vertical component and will make the violin move up and down to a greater or lesser extent. And Jean is right. You can see this slightly in Heifetz and Rosand and more prominently in Ricci, Perlman and Steinhardt. (Also, yours truly.) I'm sure there are innumerable others. These are just some that I've noticed on video. Also it tends to be most noticible in the middle positions - say 3rd-5th.

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