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Open String Vibrato?
Question on Tune a Week--The Godfather Theme
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cashierjim
Hollywood, CA
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July 19, 2017 - 10:11 pm
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I have really been enjoying the "Tune a Week" series.  I just watched The Godfather Theme video and had a question.

When Fiddlerman plays the tune with vibrato (in the "higher octave" of the first 2/3 of the sheet music), when he reached the bars 7-8 and 15-16 with the held A, it appears that he plays these using an open A string.  However, it also appears that he places a finger on another string and applies vibrato.  Also, it does seem to have some vibrato effect on the tone, although it could be a trick my eyes are playing on me.  Can anyone tell me exactly how he is playing these notes?  Is he actually using the 4th finger on the D string?  Or is he somehow getting a vibrato out of an open string?

By the way, I think the bars that he plays in the lower octave are amazing--this is the sound that inspired me to take up violin!

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Hermes
Athens, Greece
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July 20, 2017 - 6:42 am
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Hello @cashierjim 

Your ears do not trick you.

When you want to vibrate on an open string -the A in our exaple- you can place your third finger in the E string, in the first position, which is also an A but an octave higher than the open A, and vibrate there. You are still playing with your bow the open A only, and vibrating with your left hand an octave higher. It really warms up the open string sound, and creates the impression of vibrating although you are playing the open string.

The same can be done with the D, playing the open D with the bow and vibrating with the third finger in the A string, in the first position. Likewise, you can play the G string and vibrate with your third finger in the D string.

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cashierjim
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July 20, 2017 - 11:43 pm
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Interesting!  I'd love to learn a little more about the physics of the change in sound.  The length of the open string is not changing, so the pitch shouldn't change.  However, perhaps the string that has sympathetic vibration has enough of a pitch change to change the sound.

Can this same trick be done by vibrating the unison (D on the G string with open D etc.) instead of the note an octave higher?  I think the McGurk Effect may also be at play here; if you're not familiar with it watch this fascinating video:

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rockinglr33
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July 21, 2017 - 10:26 pm
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Well I'm not to the vibrato stage yet even for open strings but I believe it's similar to playing a note on one string and getting sympathetic ringing from the open string. It's one of the indicators I use such as playing the G on the D string or the D on the A strting. You'll hear more overtones when you hit the right note. I'm going to assume(though we know what that does) that it's a similar affect for vibrating on the same note for the open string....If that whole ramble made any sense.

Lead me, Follow me, or get out of my way!

             ~General George S. Patton

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Charles
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July 22, 2017 - 8:49 am
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A question for everybody.  How do you perceive a vibrato?

For me, it's a variation in volume.  I'm well aware that it's actually a variation in pitch, but that's not how it comes across.

My guess is that my brain interprets the variation in pitch as a doppler-like change, and is subconsciously assuming that the sound source is rapidly moving back and forth, while keeping the same pitch.

 

If that's true for most people, it makes sense that a sometimes more, sometimes less-in-tune second string resonating with an open string would have the same effect. The beat frequency that two strings not quite in tune produce would be actually be a lessening and strengthening of volume. If vibrato is being perceived that way (despite not actually being that), it's not surprising it would be an effective substitute for vibrato with an open string.

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cashierjim
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July 22, 2017 - 12:34 pm
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Charles,

I think for a slow, wide vibrato, I can actually perceive the variation in pitch.  For a fast vibrato, I perceive it more as a change in timbre, like playing a completely different instrument with a richer sound.

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Reviewexpress
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July 22, 2017 - 1:21 pm

cashierjim said
I have really been enjoying the "Tune a Week" series.  I just watched The Godfather Theme video and had a question.

When Fiddlerman plays the tune with vibrato (in the "higher octave" of the first 2/3 of the sheet music), when he reached the bars 7-8 and 15-16 with the held A, it appears that he plays these using an open A string.  However, it also appears that he places a finger on another string and applies vibrato.  Also, it does seem to have some vibrato effect on the tone, although it could be a trick my eyes are playing on me.  Can anyone tell me exactly how he is playing these notes?  Is he actually using the 4th finger on the D string?  Or is he somehow getting a vibrato out of an open string?

By the way, I think the bars that he plays in the lower octave are amazing--this is the sound that inspired me to take up violin! 

This is very good Vibrato.

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damfino
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July 22, 2017 - 1:40 pm
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Funny, that link wasn't in Jim's original post. Please stop spamming the forum, @Reviewexpress

 

@Fiddlerman @BillyG @KindaScratchy 

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
July 25, 2017 - 1:02 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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cashierjim said
I have really been enjoying the "Tune a Week" series.

I'm glad that you are enjoying the Tune a Week videos. 🙂

I just watched The Godfather Theme video and had a question.

When Fiddlerman plays the tune with vibrato (in the "higher octave" of the first 2/3 of the sheet music), when he reached the bars 7-8 and 15-16 with the held A, it appears that he plays these using an open A string.  However, it also appears that he places a finger on another string and applies vibrato.  Also, it does seem to have some vibrato effect on the tone, although it could be a trick my eyes are playing on me.  Can anyone tell me exactly how he is playing these notes?  Is he actually using the 4th finger on the D string?  Or is he somehow getting a vibrato out of an open string?

Sorry for the late reply. Fortunately we have so many knowledgable members here who answered your question perfectly.

It's obviously not an illusion. I learned early in my playing that when you want to get vibrato on an open G, either vibrate the 3rd finger G in the D string or vibrate on the G string nut enough that your finger makes slight contact with the string. Most commonly, violinists vibrate on the 3rd finger G string. You can apply this to all open strings. Perhaps the movement of the instrument plays an effect as well.
You can't get a wide vibrato that way but it's a nice effect as well.

By the way, I think the bars that he plays in the lower octave are amazing--this is the sound that inspired me to take up violin!  

Was it the original recording that inspired you? It's pretty cool, especially in that context. 

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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