Vibrato studies

December 10, 2022, 9:07 PM · I have been playing violin and viola in community orchestras for 40 years and I'm still not happy with my control of vibrato. My colleagues tell me that I have a nice vibrato but I want more control. Can you suggest any exercises or studies that can help?

Replies (2)

December 10, 2022, 9:11 PM · Yep.
The sequence of exercises in Simon Fischer’s ‘Warming Up.’. They are explained beautifully in a video by Nathan Cole on you tube.
Edited: December 20, 2022, 12:20 PM · Agreed!
Especially the notion of vibrating into the note from behind, rather than pulling back from it. This can help initiate the vibrato right at the start of the note, a kind of "vibrato accent", and also allow a continuous vibrato from note to note.

Then I like to integrate these "components" of vibrato into a wave motion which includes shifting. The elbow leads the wrist which leads the knuckles which lead the fingers (one on each string..), which slide up and down the strings without pressure. As the fingers gently sink into the strings, homing in on definite notes, this "under-water plant" motion shrinks to become an integrated arm-hand vibrato, constantly available; non-vib passages then have a "potential" vibrato at their core.

On viola, the index finger is more curled back on its corner, with limited flexibility for vibrato: here we must briefly shift the hand to allow a more rounded shape.

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