How much vibrato is generally used in Baroque pieces? As we know, vibrato saw an enormous change in it's type, as the genres progressed into the modern era.
I have noticed players using various kinds of vibratos, while some haven't really used it at all in the baroque pieces. As I understand, it depends on the interpretation of the players on the pieces, but I wonder how the use of vibratos would have been, in the earlier days!
The common wisdom is that vibrato was not much used in the Baroque era. To what extent that common wisdom was fact-based, I am not clear. As with many things related to that period, there may be significant regional variation. However, I am not an expert on that period and defer to others on this.
My chamber orchestra has a concert coming up at the end of this week in which two of the works in the programme are specifically Baroque (Purcell and Marcello). Our conductor requires us not to use any vibrato in those two pieces, but to use the bow instead of the left hand for expressive purposes. We're happy to go along with that.
I'm not an expert neither, a violinist that's really into baroque and Renaissance music could tell us more specific about this topic. I believe you don't even have to be a violinist. If you think about it, all instruments should swim in the same direction, so it wouldn't make any sense if violins were not doing vibrato but for viol or cellos were totally fine.
None of us was alive during the Baroque. However, we have treatises written by musicians and observers from the era, and these vary.
I would only add to Christian's excellent post that what was considered 'vibrato' then seems to have been rather subtler than the modern variety, again at least in some regions. Judy Tarling's excellent book "Baroque String Playing for Ingenious Learners" collects a lot of sources and is a great resource on issues like this.
Christian - I believe your analysis is mostly correct but would argue that the "HIP movement" (if it can really be referred to as a single entity) is far more diverse and sophisticated than you give it credit for. For one thing, HIP isn't just applied to the baroque period, which itself developed enormously from, say, Monteverdi to Bach.
I would only add to all the wisdom of previous posters the words of my teacher: "A composer like Telemann or Bach would never have objected to any technique that would have made their music sound beautiful, whether or not it was used at the time."
These discussions always remind me of the question of whether pianists, when playing baroque music, should use any pedal. Again, my own feeling is that if Bach had a modern piano at his disposal he would avail himself of all its features. It's true that the best harpsichordists don't seem to need it, but then, what they're doing is extremely difficult.
In addition, as far as I know, the dyanmics were not extensively used on the Violin as like the successive post Baroque periods.
I have only practiced on
Steve, Bristol Violin Shop, who service my instruments, in particular recently bringing my old violin back close to its original 18th century setup, make string instruments for Early Music and Baroque ensembles. See this link: http://bristol-violin-shop.co.uk/instrument-making/
Thanks Trevor, not too far from us but I decided I'll never be the HIP priest (sorry, favourite Fall song). I went as far as buying a "baroque" bow, stringing a Chinese violin with gut and taking off the chin rest, but couldn't master the art of shifting down without dropping the thing.
You are allowed to use your chin. We see chin stains on pretty much every surviving violin from that era.
Vivaldi Cello Sonatas has plenty of vibrato
About the palsy: that comes from Leopold Mozart, who complained about players who applied vibrato too liberally and said they made themselves appear as if they had a palsy. On the other hand Geminiani recommended a liberal use of vibrato. So already back then there were two schools.
Scott and and Christian's remarks are head on.
The assertion that old composers would have used new methods of expression if they were available relies on an assumption that musical standards of beauty or communication are intrinsic and thereby universal. This is demonstrably not true. The most interesting aspect of HIP is how different the conception of musical expression was in past periods from now.
Steve, I suggest the problem you seem to be having with shifting when playing CR-less may be to do with posture. It happened with me at one time and the solution I found that worked was to make sure the violin is held horizontally on the collar bone (I'm assuming there's no SR) during the period the shift is being executed, especially if it's a down-shift from a higher position. If this isn't done and the violin is being held in the very common position in which the scroll is slightly lower than horizontal then gravity will take over and try to slide the violin off the collar bone. The immediate natural reaction is panic which tightens the left hand and thereby stops the shift, and the player will try to recover the situation by jamming the chin down somewhere on the violin. This will have the knock-on effect of causing unwanted tightness in the shoulder area, making a relaxed hold (or rather support) of the violin that more difficult. Muscle tightness in the shoulder region will further have an adverse effect on bowing.
Thanks again Trevor - I should certainly give it a proper go, maybe with the early English violin I bought yesterday (sight unseen) from Bromptons. Datewise it would perhaps be best suited to the early classical period, but unfortunately as far as I can tell from the pictures it doesn't seem to have its original neck
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