Vibrato breakthroughs

Edited: November 12, 2019, 6:51 PM · Sometimes the best way to learn is by observing- and in our case, listening to better examples than where we are.

I've in the past week been inspired in a couple of concepts by watching some Taryn Harbridge videos on youtube- who I'd never heard of previously.

My own mimd I call a "stick figure mind" because when exposed for the first time to something, I have self-observed my own tendency to draw a stick figure resemblance of it somehow. While sometimes I can look at something people have done a certain way for years, I have some ability to remove myself, analyze both the functions and their roots and come up with a fundamentally better idea, I also at other times find myself doing stick man level imitations or interpretations until a point I look back in embarrassment at my own crude interpretations of others' brilliance As a student of mindfulness it's an aspect I've decided to work on. Enough babble!

So the point is, I finally got vibrato going a few years after taking up the violin. But I had a stick man vision of it- it was almost something purely physical by the time I got it down and I started vibrating my crude playing with it. Maybe I finally reached the point to go beyond.

Something in Taryns playing- and her vibrato is natural and lovely- made me realize that there can be more right hand and bowing involved than I've usually heard from others. I pictured a "sweet spot" in my mind where the rhythm and vibration of the bow and right hand dancing blended with the rather unsupported stick man image vibrato I was pleased with drawing before that.

I think I found some of this- it's almost working backwards, not from printed music notation and pre-prescribed tempo, but letting the vibrato more define the piece, than the other way around. It makes me think anyway - inspires and excites me.

Then, just this evening I was listening to her Wonderful Cross medley and noticing what lovely tonal flow I was noticing particularly when she was playing in the lower notes, and I wondered: "Is she actually just slurring some notes? How does she get this smooth sound?"

So I picked up the violin and started to see. No they aren't slurs, but what seems to be is a wise use of the vibrato to enhance and smooth out the scale direction. Then I started applying a very slight "micro slur" with the fingertips as they made contact- and in the direction of the next note- and VOILA! there it was. This advice may well be out there already and I have to confess I haven't much formally studied vibrato beyond these chat boards and some youtube vides, but the concept is new to me and I think will propel my own efforts forward greatly.

so just thought I'd share

Replies (2)

November 12, 2019, 7:09 PM · Good for you, we just have to find what makes us tic sometimes. Just to confuse you a little though, the vibrato should go toward the previous note however, in other words downward, and back up to the note (although not everyone agrees on that of course).
November 12, 2019, 10:29 PM · I've never heard of anyone advocating to vibrate up from the note.

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

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

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Violin Finder
Yamaha Violin Finder

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

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

Meadowmount School of Music

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases


Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Potter Violins

Pro-Am Strings

Violin Lab

Wangbow Violin Bow Workshop

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine