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I've been attempting wrist vibrato the last month or so and after watching a dozen instructional videos on YouTube it seems like everyone does it different. Some play the note and vibrate a half note above and then back to the note and some vibrate below the note and then back. I've been moving my wrist towards me like I'm "knocking at the door" towards myself, but half the videos I see say the opposite. So........ do you vibrate above with your wrist coming towards you, or away from you when you play the note? I want to do the right motion from the start. Any help? Thanks. Grandpafiddle.
Vibrating below the note is correct. In a group of pitches, the pitch that the ear perceives is near the top of the group.
Although the measured pitch does go both above and below the note, I believe this comes from the impulse of the finger pushing into the string at the top of the vibrato motion. If you attempt to vibrate around the note, it sounds sharp. And if you vibrate upward from the note, it sounds very sharp.
I'd agree with @AndrewH above.... from what little I know - but yes - in my fiddle tunes that I play ( or "fiddle-style-variations" of tunes, never intended to be played on fiddle/violin) - yes - my ear always tells me one of two alternatives are available when I feel like a bit of improvisation - and they are - (1) vibrate on the target note (and it always just "feels right" starting low and hitting the intended pitch (or slightly above, but coming back...) and repeated - or (b) a nice, sweet, cleanly timed slide to the target note... but that's fiddlin' for yah - do what feels good and sounds right !
I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh -
Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)
There's a couple different styles of vibrato... mainly arm vibrato and wrist vibrato (that I know of, anyway, lol). The way my teacher started me out was a wrist style, which was more of a twist of the wrist/forearm to move my finger on the string. Because of some repetitive motion injuries, that didn't work totally for me, so she showed me arm vibrato, and now I kind of do both. Both ways, as I was shown, the first motion is coming towards your face, and I was taught to hit the note, and then make a "waaa-waaa" above and below the note.
World's Okayest Fiddler
If you are a beginner/intermediate learning vibrato for the first time, be aware that some advice will only be suitable for intermediate/advanced players and will confuse you.
If you are learning vibrato for the first time, play an E on the A string with your second finger. Play with your hand in very gentle contact with the violin for support. Don't tense up. If you worry about arm/wrist/finger vibrato, chances are you'll just tense up.
"Vibrating below the note is correct." I don't want to appear to contradict Andrew, who is far more advanced than me, but there is a conceptual point here which he may be missing.
Playing what sounds right and being told by a machine that you are flat is NOT the same thing as attempting to play flat.
If you try X and a machine says you are achieving Y, when you try Y, the machine will not tell you you are are achieving X: it will tell you that you are achieving Z!
Play in tune, as part of your ear training.
I understand what you're getting at. But I'm not saying to refer to an electronic tuner. That's actually a bad idea when learning vibrato.
If it's confusing, ignore what I said about what a machine measures. That's just extra explanation of the sound that reaches our ears. Start with an in-tune note, vibrate below and then back, and it will sound in tune to the human ear.
In agreement with Andrew, when I say "play in tune" I chose my words too hastily, as they could be construed to mean "put your finger in the right place and vibrate above and below". What I intended to mean was "play what sounds right to your ear". In practice this will mean playing a little below (scientific analysis shows), but your ear is the primary judge.
I think it's important not to get confused between how something feels and what an objective measure of the sound output looks like.
The point is that it feels like you're vibrating below the fingered note, and that's all you need to know. Then use your ear to pitch it correctly just as you would for a straight 'unvibrated' note.