vibrato help yet again!

Edited: July 16, 2017, 12:18 PM · I do a slow vibrato where my elbow moves in and out as does my wrist. The lady below has the more usual - her elbow is still, the wrist stays in line with the arm. Tips on how to learn it please? Thanks.

Youtube vid

Replies (9)

July 16, 2017, 2:21 PM · I we put the elbow on a table to immobilise it, the violin will go up & down a little if we try an arm vibrato. Without the table, the elbow can move slightly in the direction of the vibrato, and even left to right if we initiate the motion from the shoulder.

We can block certain mouvements to isolate those we are working on, but I find it best to spend a few minutes re-wakening an integrated whole-arm "underwater plant" motion vibrato.

July 17, 2017, 1:29 AM · Thanks, that may get it. At first though my wrist keeps trying to move. The trick is learning not to 'break' it?
July 31, 2017, 1:49 PM · Maybe learn wrist vibrato instead?
Edited: August 1, 2017, 4:06 AM · Thanks. I think it's a matter of speed. To get the speed of vibrato in the vid seems to require no wrist 'breaking in'.
August 2, 2017, 3:17 AM · We may stiffen wrist or elbow movements in a rapid vibrato, but only just enough. Maybe think of fluttering like a bird rather than shaking someone by the neck?!
August 2, 2017, 3:23 AM · Thanks. I'm attempting to do the rapid one without the chin on the chinrest. Can anyone do that? Anyone want to try? Thanks again.
August 2, 2017, 4:27 AM · I have never seen such an exploit!
And my instruments are not very valuable, but they are all I have!
August 2, 2017, 5:42 AM · Hi Bud,

In my opinion, you will need to try a pure arm vibrato first, trying to keep the wrist still (call it straight if you like, though it is not stiff). Slide your finger up and down along the string and try to establish a rhythm, using a metronome. Once you have practised this for a few days and the movement is more or less automatic, try to add a rolling fingertip to this movement. What I mean by that, is that you stop the string with your finger (start with the 2nd or 3rd finger, as that's the easiest one for most people), at the same time allowing your finger joints to move in and out, as you are still moving the whole arm as before. Again, practise this for a few days. It will get easier, I promise! Then try this with all fingers, first without the bow, then with the bow later on. Check out my vibrato video here:
Good luck!

August 2, 2017, 6:55 AM · Henriette's remarks mirror the way I was taught vibrato 70 years ago - especially the part about doing it without a bow. The process took me about an entire month before I sounded like a vibrato - but then I had it. It further improved about 20 years later when I started to use a shoulder rest.

Unfortunately, about 40 years later I suffered some spinal disk problems that have made it impossible for me to any long execute an arm vibrato. So for the next 27 years I have been trying to develop a wrist vibrato for the lower positions (a "finger" vibrato seems to work for me above 4th position and a wrist vibrato is absolutely natural for almost everyone in 3rd position). I now play in a chamber orchestra composed mostly of retirees and there is virtually no arm vibrato to be seen.

Because of this experience I would recommend that anyone who expects to live a long time and continue to play well into their 70s and 80s (etc.) continue studying vibrato after developing an arm vibrato and add a wrist vibrato to their "quiver" and maybe even develop a compound vibrato that utilizes well-controlled and coordinated motions of the entire limb (kind of like a compound pendulum).

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

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

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Yamaha YEV Series Violin
Yamaha YEV Series Violin

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

Metzler Violin Shop

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases


Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Los Angeles Violin Shop

Pluhar Violins

Potter Violins

Pro-Am Strings Ltd

Violin Lab

Violin Pros

Wangbow Violin Bow Workshop