Narrow, fast vibrato

March 11, 2021, 1:55 PM · Hello,
I am having problems with my vibrato. It sometimes seems to be a combination of arm and wrist and also wide..I would like to develop a narrower, faster and more intense vibrato. I like Sergey Khachatryan's vibrato. I would appreciate any tips on that.
Thank you a lot,

Replies (7)

March 11, 2021, 2:34 PM · Greetings,
there is nothing wrong with a combination arm and hand (I don’t say wrist) vibrato. I recommend you get a copy of Simon Fischer’s Warming Up and practice those exercises on vibrato. Nathan Cole does a good demonstration video on youtube.
Also experiment with changing what part of the pad of the finger touches the string, an important means of changing tone color which is largely ignored.
Hugh Bean once told me that to increase the speed and intensity of vibrato add a little more finger weight to the string. He actually said ‘pressure’ or ‘press’ but I try to avoid those words too. So it is useful to practice the degree of finer pressure exercises from the same book.
March 11, 2021, 6:03 PM · Greetings,
in a way, the simple answer is visualize what you want and then do it. A useful approach is to practice scales veeeerrrry slowly, one note to a bow. Do a wide vibrato on one stroke (fast or slow?) then a narrow on the next one (fast of slow) . That already gives you a huge number of possible sequences. Experiment , as I said above with finger pressure at various depths. Think about the relationship between vibrato and dynamics. Doing crescendos and iminuendos while consciously electing the speed and width of your vibrato. Also make sure you connect the vibrato from one bow stroke to the next.
Finally, watch Daniel Kurganov’s fantastic videos on vibrato he has generously put up on youtube.
Edited: March 12, 2021, 7:02 AM · Buri, thank you for pointing out Daniel Kurganov's excellent Youtube videos on vibrato! I never saw them before--I am sure they will be a great help for me!
March 13, 2021, 3:36 AM · Thank you very much!
March 13, 2021, 4:14 AM · your welcome. i think we tend to spend huge amounts of time talking about the mechanism of vibrato and often miss even considering the fundamental reason for its existence. we are frequently told that all the art lies in the bow arm and the vibrato is merely for decoration. i think this a Very shallow way of looking at the issue. For me, the vibrato works in tandem with the bow In expressing a mood, feeling, or musical idea. So trying to play scales with long notes and practicing differeht moods by varying the vibrato is a huge step forward. however when it comes to practice, I think a lot of violinists neglect the next step which is a huge aspect of artistry. That is, we should think about what we are trying to express and practice finding the right vibratorFor a particular note. In other words a huge amount of effort should be expended on trying different kinds of vibrator during practice which incidentally should be exactly the same as performance. As near as possible. Ha ha
So, for example, take something simple looking but actually very very difficult such as the opening bars of the spring sonata by Beethoven. We can just play it without thinking, but if we look at the underlying harmony, the rate of harmonic change is extremely slow.Typically, most Violinists up to intermediate level who have been given this Will play the sea note at the beginning of the second bar very loud and Stridently. In fact this note belongs harmonically with the first long note of the piece And therefore does not need to stand out. The The harmony actually changes on the long G which requires a new different and slightly more intense vibrato.So when practising even this simple looking passage time must be spent on figuring out the most appropriate types of Vibrato for those three long notes according to their relationship with each other. This is just a small example of how the work done on the scales relates to the music that we play.
Cheers, buri
March 13, 2021, 11:39 AM · Varying our vibrato speed and width is a life long endeavor :) Here is a playlist of vibrato exercises and tips I created for my violin studio, with 9 videos. They are addressing different issues and intentions for vibrato. See if there is something there that helps you:

Edited: March 14, 2021, 3:50 PM · I'm a retired amateur, it's been decades since I took lessons, I've never given lessons, and I'm not well familiar with the many, many references to this topic (like the great ones from everyone above). So.....take the following tip for what it's worth.

Don't forget about the first small finger joint next to the nail on your 4 playing fingers. If that joint isn't flexible, whatever vibrato movements you are making (arm, hand, wrist, elbow) are not going to "translate" to the fingertips as well.

So, try this, just for a minute or so a day on each of the 4 playing fingers. Without applying great pressure, place your hand down as if on a computer keyboard or on a table or on your knee while sitting. Gently rotate that joint back and forth, without applying much pressure (just enough to make the joint flex).

Do this for just a couple of minutes a day, and see (and hear) what happens after a week or two.

I hope that helps.

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