Vibrato – when and how much?

Vibrato is one of the violinists greatest expression tool when used correctly. Many argue as to how much and how often one should vibrate. Basically we should vibrate more when playing romantic music and tighter when playing classical music. When playing baroque music it is a great idea not to vibrate at all. Many believe this to be boring while I think it adds imagination to expressing ourselves in other ways. We’re forced to do more with the right hand when we can’t take advantage of vibrato as an expression tool. We must do more with phrasing and dynamics instead. This can make playing baroque music much more interesting and creative and even educational.

Basic rules:

  • Vibrate wider on the lower notes and tighter on the high ones.
  • Vibrate more on accents and downbeats in classical music.
  • Vibrate from the tone and downwards for correct intonation.
  • Don’t play some notes with and some without vibrato unless intentionally thought out.
  • Avoid vibrating more than the leader of the section in an orchestra except in special situations.

Try to vary your vibrato as much as possible and save the most intensive vibrato for the most expressive phrases to avoid being boring.
by: Fiddlerman

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