FORUM

Please have a look at our Forum Rules. Lets keep this forum an enjoyable place to visit.

A A A
Avatar

Please consider registering
guest

sp_LogInOut Log In sp_Registration Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —






— Match —





— Forum Options —





Minimum search word length is 3 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

No permission to create posts
sp_Feed Topic RSS sp_TopicIcon
Why can't I 'do' vibrato? And why aren't I trying to yet?
Yes, 'Ferret' has been 'thinking' again. It's rarely a good thing :)
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
Avatar
Ferret
Byron Bay Australia
Members

Regulars
April 7, 2014 - 7:04 pm
Member Since: April 22, 2012
Forum Posts: 1575
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Why am I still 'sans' vibrato? I've been at this for two years now so why aren't I even trying to do it yet?

I know that at two years, in the world of the violin, I'm still a relative 'newby'. But I'd like to give my thoughts on the topic.

Please let me start by saying that I have absolutely nothing against vibrato. It can make a plain piece of music sound brilliant and I'm sure that I will be totally 'stoked' if I ever learn to do it well.... But.

I have, since the beginning of my battle with this infernal instrument, believed that the the most important aspect of playing a violin is good intonation and good bowing. All else is secondary because without competence in these areas you will never sound good no matter what other techniques you use to 'improve' a piece of music.

I also feel that if vibrato is seriously attempted before the essential skills of intonation and bowing are, at least for the most part, mastered it can impede the acquisition of the fundamental skills of playing. I have noticed members on the forum 'stressing' about the difficulty of learning vibrato and possibly being retarded in their progress because of it.

After wondering if I was deluded and was the only one that thought this way I did some research on the subject and after considerable 'Googling' and reading found an article on the Westbury Park Strings website published by Roland Harrera and Simonetta Barone.

In their article they say,

"The ultimate (and all too common) sin is to introduce vibrato prematurely, before the acquisition of foundational elements, adding another layer of impurity and complication which are all likely to ruin the chances of mastering fundamental skills such as good rhythm, tone, intonation and fluent bowing style forever."

The article goes on to say, "but vibrato per se is useless as an expressive aid unless backed by good bowing with good tonal properties (good tonus)."

exactly I reckon.

So to finish up I'll say. You have to learn to crawl before you walk and you need to be able to walk before you can run. Otherwise you stand a good chance of falling on your butt. Don't stress about learning vibrato. You, like me, may not be ready yet. Learning to play the fiddle is really hard. Don't make it really really hard :)

Anyway. That's what I reckon. Would really like to know what 'you' reckon. hats_off
 
You can read the complete article at the link below. It also gives some good information on left and, in particular, right hand technique.

http://www.wps.pwp.blueyonder......hnique.htm

Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of dunno ..... What was I saying???? facepalm

Avatar
1stimestar
Members

Regulars
April 7, 2014 - 7:17 pm
Member Since: August 28, 2013
Forum Posts: 814
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Yep, that's it.  I hate to keep saying "My teacher says..blah blah blah." but she made me promise not to do vibrato yet.  She knows that I often look things up on the internet and try new things that we are not doing in class yet.  But this one thing she is adamant about.  She really wants me to get a good base layer so to speak before introducing accessories.  I've been playing a bit over two years too and am surprised when I see people playing for much shorter times attempting vibrato. 

 

Opportunity is often missed because it wears suspenders and looks like hard work.

 

Alaska, the Madness; Bloggity Stories of the North Country

Avatar
Uzi
Georgia
Honorary tenured advisor
Members

Regulars
April 7, 2014 - 10:13 pm
Member Since: January 19, 2014
Forum Posts: 891
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

I agree and disagree.  I agree that intonation and bowing and the must important of all: rhythm, are more important skills to master, initially, than vibrato  Furthermore, vibrato isn't even used that much in many types of music such as Irish fiddle -- to name just one genre  Confined to that style of music one could play for years or even a lifetime without ever needing to learn to vibrate -- or use third or fifth positions for that matter. In that kind of music all the magic is in the rhythm created by the bow. 

On the other hand, vibrato is almost a requirement in order to play some songs "correctly".  Take Swan Lake or Shindler's List as examples.  One can play the notes to those songs  perfectly, but the song won't sound right without rather massive vibrato. It is the vibrato that puts the feeling, the soul, the emotion into that type of song.  I agree that vibrato can not and will not hide poor intonation, it just vibrates off key which sounds just as bad or even worse than simply being off key. But, it is the vibrato that gives life and emotion to many songs and is probably the single thing that makes most people love the sound of these instruments.

Assuming that one does want to play songs that need vibrato, then one simply has to learn that skill like all the other skills required to play this instrument.  I presume the right time to do that is whenever one wishes to take the time to do it.  In the case of my grandson, he played without any vibrato for about 3 years, then somewhere in the fourth year his hand just started doing it on its own.  Perhaps that's the right time. On the other hand, assuming one can observe and use the proper technique to create vibrato, and has the desire to put out the effort, then I would argue that's the right time.  Heck, people my age can't put things off for too long, because the finish line isn't that far down the road.  Vibrato is like anything else worth doing:  It's hard at first and becomes easier after many, many hours of practice.  I say do it whenever and if ever you feel like you want to.

 

 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

Avatar
DanielB
Regulars

Members
April 8, 2014 - 5:34 am
Member Since: May 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 2379
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Well, I'm also at about 2 yrs, and I don't devote much thought (or any practice time) to vibrato. 

I *can* do it, at least a rather narrow and fast vibrato.  I stumbled across it in my first couple weeks of playing, before anyone told me it is supposed to be difficult. LOL 

But I usually avoid it in my violin playing.  Even on guitar, where I've played most of my life and am comfortable with several different ways of doing it, I use vibrato rather sparingly.  Like trills or any other embellishment/decoration, one has to use some taste.  An effect/technique that can be really cool in some places can become absurd/annoying if done all the time or even just overused. 

Needless to say, I am no big fan of hearing the "continuous vibrato" some folks use. 

Some advice I was given was to not worry about vibrato for the first 3 yrs or so.  Focus instead on getting good clear, pure notes and clean string changes, fast and precise finger drops and lifts, etc.  I was also told not to worry about any positions above first position for the first couple of years, since it usually takes at least that long to really get the bowing, string crossings and etc going well enough.

So I stick to that advice, for practice.  I devote no practice time to working on vibrato or playing in any higher positions.  When I have finished practice for the day and I play the instrument just for enjoyment.. Well, anything goes.  I may throw in a bit of vibrato or use trills/rolls, or shift a bit for some tunes or when I'm jamming to a backing track.  Experimentation, to see what I can do and see what may work.  But it isn't stuff I put dedicated daily work into, like I do with basics.

For comparison, I've played guitar since about 1976.  I currently put in about as much practice time on the guitar as I do on violin, about 45 min a day.  It is all basics, like any noob does.  Chord changes, strumming patterns, scales.  It is not so "noob", in that I practice more chord forms than a noob might know, and I take things like scales at a higher tempo and I aim for a higher standard of playing than a noob on guitar might.  But it's really the same stuff and still includes everything a beginner *should* be doing.  

In my personal experience, that is what it takes to eventually get "good".  If I don't put that time in, at first I won't get progress, and then I'll start losing what I've already worked for. 

That isn't how I started out, though.  It took me about 10 yrs to figure that out.  When I started, I was in a hurry to hit the "advanced" pieces and techniques, and I skipped over a lot of the basics.  I worked at learning lots of songs.. sorta.  I went through all the books and magazines for advanced techniques and tricks, and figured it was a shortcut.  LOL

While I won't say that "hurt me as a player" (since I did learn and get some experience in that period), it was no shortcut to playing.  I'd say it took me about 15 yrs to get to where I *could* have gotten to in 5 or 6, if I had actually been working the basics that I didn't think *I* needed. 

"Scales are boring!"

"I don't need any theory, I just want to play..Why should I need to know anything about chords and scales, when I can just get them out of a book?  It's already all been figured out."

"I want to play songs, not exercises.. Nobody wants to listen to somebody playing a bunch of dumb exercises."

"Too much practice and drilling on exercises will make me sound stiff and stale in my playing.. I'm more of a natural style player.."

"I think I do pretty good with different tempos and beats.  I mean, anybody can play on the beat, you don't need to practice that.."

roflol

I've used all of those, over the years.  And I was wrong every time.  LOL

Anyway, back to the original question.. I think you're on the right trail, Ferret.  Get things like intonation, bowing, timing, and dynamics down first.  Then worry about fancy stuff.  Maybe. 

I will add that as far as "special effects" techniques go, I personally consider vibrato about the most over-rated, over-used, and overly obsessed one that I have heard about for violin.

 

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

Avatar
Oliver
NC
King
Regulars
April 8, 2014 - 9:57 am
Member Since: February 28, 2011
Forum Posts: 2439
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Daniel,

I know you are too young to know this but I am the undisputed champ of violin "wrong".

You probably know that a student will cultivate all kinds of bad habits without a teacher.  Well, I am working on all those bad habits for a long time and I have even created a few original mistakes.  My specialty is a bow grip sort of like a bowling ball.

I have an anemic vibrato which I reserve for disguising poor intonation.  Big whoops!

My "Hall of Fame" is a display of just about every gizmo I ever bought which was supposed to make me sound better but I decided  that I could not buy talent. 

Back when, I chose between learning the violin or alto sax.  I had a 50/50 chance of being right but I'm married to the violin now.

 

 

 

 

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

Avatar
Teapot
Member
Members
April 8, 2014 - 1:50 pm
Member Since: May 1, 2013
Forum Posts: 35
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

In light of what has been said above, to me vibrato is the frosting on the cake. It is essential to present a ''perfect'' cake, but at the same time you have to get the batter and the cream filling tasting good otherwise it's not worth it! So intonation and technique is the base of your cake, when you are confident that the recipe is good you can start experimenting with the frosting! And vibrato doesn't happen in a week or a month, the way you'd learn a scale. It develops throughout your entire life as a violinist, as your connection with the instrument and the music matures and evolves. I only just started getting into it slowly this week, my approach it to first learn the piece well without any vibrato at all so i know everything else technique-wise is solid, then slowly add the ''icing on the cake''. Dunno if it is a legit approach but it helps me keep thing less complicated.

Avatar
Oliver
NC
King
Regulars
April 8, 2014 - 5:34 pm
Member Since: February 28, 2011
Forum Posts: 2439
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Not to steal the post but .............

My dismal performance on vibrato is because nobody told me my violin was too short for good vibrato for someone my size.  I had to find out for myself but I have plans now.

 

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

Avatar
Ferret
Byron Bay Australia
Members

Regulars
April 8, 2014 - 5:57 pm
Member Since: April 22, 2012
Forum Posts: 1575
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Oliver said
Not to steal the post but .............

My dismal performance on vibrato is because nobody told me my violin was too short for good vibrato for someone my size.  I had to find out for myself but I have plans now.

 

@Oliver 

Have you thought of stringing a viola an a violin. I've done it and it works OK

Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of dunno ..... What was I saying???? facepalm

Avatar
Oliver
NC
King
Regulars
April 8, 2014 - 9:48 pm
Member Since: February 28, 2011
Forum Posts: 2439
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

That ,Sir, is exactly what I am up to despite the usual sneers at the very idea.

Bottom Line .......... Dramatic improvement in all areas.  I would liken it to a sudden jump in skill level by a year, maybe more.  I'm not just talking vibrato.  I mean EVERYTHING is better with the viola/violin.

I feel sorry for those who avoid a similar course for fear of criticism from the "establishment".

Now I only have to decide what size I want.  I own a 15" and a 16" but (of course) I think 15.5 would be perfect.

 

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

Avatar
DanielB
Regulars

Members
April 9, 2014 - 5:32 am
Member Since: May 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 2379
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
10sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Yeah, I've sometimes thought that fractional sizes could ideally include things like a 5/4 size violin for those of us with hands maybe a little larger than average.  Stringing a viola as a violin is an option, but from what I understand, violas are also made a little differently as regards the rib height and bass bar.. So I've assumed the timbre difference would be greater than say the difference between a 3/4 and 4/4 violin?

But I dunno..

dunno

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

Avatar
DanielB
Regulars

Members
April 9, 2014 - 6:26 am
Member Since: May 4, 2012
Forum Posts: 2379
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
11sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Oliver said

My "Hall of Fame" is a display of just about every gizmo I ever bought which was supposed to make me sound better but I decided  that I could not buy talent.

 

But the only rosin you have ever tried was the "student block", as I recall?  I would have thought that somewhere in among those gizmos, you would have tried some other rosins.. LOL

Just sayin'.. dunno

"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman

Avatar
Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
April 9, 2014 - 7:16 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717
12sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Interesting discussion.
I was young but when I started playing I learned vibrato on my own the second week of playing despite my teacher telling me it was too early so I understand all of you that want it now!
That being said, my vibrato wasn't good until I was properly shown how to do it and I took a few steps back. :-)
As "teapot" said, "vibrato is the frosting on the cake" :-)
To me, vibrato is simply ONE of the embellishments that we possess. If you haven't begun to vibrate yet, take advantage of non vibrato to be even more expressive with phrasing and dynamics. It's more of a challenge and gives a greater understanding of music, expression and phrasing.

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

Avatar
Oliver
NC
King
Regulars
April 9, 2014 - 9:07 am
Member Since: February 28, 2011
Forum Posts: 2439
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
13sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

I can do an audible finger vibrato which sometimes does the job but the viola trick brings me up to the "next level" which still leaves a lot of room for improvement.

DanielB

My intended meaning was that I finally went back to the student block after I realized that it worked as well as any other fancier rosin.

In the meantime, I probably had tried almost every rosin from $15.00 down.  (I did not try one very expensive rosin which I dropped on receipt and it shattered like delicate glass.  I melted it back in with student rosin and that works well!)

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

Avatar
Uzi
Georgia
Honorary tenured advisor
Members

Regulars
April 9, 2014 - 9:44 pm
Member Since: January 19, 2014
Forum Posts: 891
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
14sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Oliver said
That ,Sir, is exactly what I am up to despite the usual sneers at the very idea.

Bottom Line .......... Dramatic improvement in all areas.  I would liken it to a sudden jump in skill level by a year, maybe more.  I'm not just talking vibrato.  I mean EVERYTHING is better with the viola/violin.

I feel sorry for those who avoid a similar course for fear of criticism from the "establishment".

Now I only have to decide what size I want.  I own a 15" and a 16" but (of course) I think 15.5 would be perfect.

 

I'm guessing you're talking about stringing a viola with violins strings? Have you ever thought of stringing those violas with octave violin strings and then tuning GDAE, but an octave lower?

 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~Herm Albright

Avatar
Oliver
NC
King
Regulars
April 9, 2014 - 10:50 pm
Member Since: February 28, 2011
Forum Posts: 2439
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
15sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Actually, my viola variation uses the original "G","D", and "A" along with a regular violin "E". 

Now the octave viola would probably sound great except for one major problem I had with octaves on a violin.  I could not get used to the increased vibration.  Actually, it gave me a headache in a short time.  The sound was amazing however.  (i.e. the physically coupled vibration, not the audio alone).

What intrigues me is that the viola seems to preserve certain violin characteristics that being a slightly dull "D" and a loud "A".  I would even say that the strings sound like a pretty good match.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

Avatar
Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
April 11, 2014 - 7:50 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717
16sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

That is interesting Oliver. I didn't realize the violin E string was long enough but I suppose you only need a few raps around. :-)

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

Avatar
Oliver
NC
King
Regulars
April 11, 2014 - 9:30 am
Member Since: February 28, 2011
Forum Posts: 2439
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
17sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Yeah, I remember the violin "E" being OK on the 15", but not on the 16".

 

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

Avatar
Ferret
Byron Bay Australia
Members

Regulars
April 11, 2014 - 4:52 pm
Member Since: April 22, 2012
Forum Posts: 1575
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

Oliver said
Yeah, I remember the violin "E" being OK on the 15", but not on the 16".

 

@Oliver 

When I tried it on my 16" I used an E meant for 5 string 16" viola. No length problem at all :)

D'Addario have them in Helicore 

Seen it all. Done it all. Can't remember most of dunno ..... What was I saying???? facepalm

Avatar
Oliver
NC
King
Regulars
April 11, 2014 - 10:07 pm
Member Since: February 28, 2011
Forum Posts: 2439
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
19sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Well, that couldn't be better because I just received 3 Helicore strings intended for 15" viola.  That will be a good set with the 5 string E.

I just finished a practice session with a regular violin and I know I can never go back to a normal violin.   The die is cast!

 

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

Avatar
Ginnysg
Southern California
Members

Regulars
April 13, 2014 - 12:12 am
Member Since: May 13, 2013
Forum Posts: 255
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline
20sp_Permalink sp_Print
0

Since I've only been playing for less than a year I'm saving vibrato till I have more of the basics down.  I  have such a looooong way to go!

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” 

No permission to create posts
Forum Timezone: America/New_York

Most Users Ever Online: 231

Currently Online: BillyG, Andy49
47 Guest(s)

Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)

Members Birthdays
sp_BirthdayIcon
Today None
Upcoming Mad_Wed, Prudence, ButteryStuffs, kit, makinnoise

Top Posters:

coolpinkone: 3767

Mad_Wed: 2849

Barry: 2661

Fiddlestix: 2637

Oliver: 2439

DanielB: 2379

Member Stats:

Guest Posters: 1

Members: 3563

Moderators: 0

Admins: 2

Forum Stats:

Groups: 16

Forums: 56

Topics: 6448

Posts: 80413

Newest Members:

bo, EKBanjo, charlieD, Folky fiddler, Morgenes42, stringo

Administrators: Fiddlerman: 11717, KindaScratchy: 1651