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Trying to learn vibrato
I am wanting to learn vibrato, will talk to my instructor, but have some questions
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cid
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February 3, 2019 - 9:56 am
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Has anyone used or seen this book? It is “Viva Vibrato” I think vibrato is going to be very difficult for me to learn. I will explain later.

https://www.amazon.com/96F-Vibrato-Teachers-Manual-Score/dp/0849733707/ref=mp_s_a_1_fkmr2_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1549200669&sr=8-1-fkmr2&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=Gerald+Fischbach.+viva+vibrato+teachers+edition

There is also a teacher’s manual and score:

https://www.amazon.com/96F-Vibrato-Teachers-Manual-Score/dp/0849733707/ref=mp_s_a_1_fkmr2_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1549200669&sr=8-1-fkmr2&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=Gerald+Fischbach.+viva+vibrato+teachers+edition

I am actually thinking of getting the teacher’s version, but am wondering if it might be too technical and the score included would not be what is in the student’s version, ie the accompaniment, which is not what I want, so not sure. Probably get the students and see what is in it.

Now, I think vibrato is going to be difficult because I am not sure I am holding the violin correctly, and the fact that it is. I have read about vibrato, watched all the Fiddlerman videos on vibrato, and others. I am using the tip of my finger pads, not the nails, but, my nails look to run parallel with the strings. I am not sure this is correct. My arm from the elbow to the fingers is straight, not bent over at the wrist. I am not resting the bottom of the hand at my violin body

In the videos and what I read, the motion they say, whether hand, wrist or arm vibrato, is not possible with the fingers parallel with the strings. The knuckles are parallel to the strings. The finger does not slide up and down the string, if I can get it to move at all. My instructor has never said anything about the angle of my fingers, she just said the straight wrist, arm was good.

Last night I tried playing my violin and angling the fingers so the nails are not parallel with the strings. It was impossible. It was like I never played a note. Now, if I am learning something, skipping things and then going back to do it differently does not work. Seriously, I cannot relearn things in a different way, without going all the way back to step one. If I am angling my fingers wrong, I need to know now so I can start over before I get farther along. Changing it later will be disastrous.

I really want to do vibrato. I was not in a hurry to learn it when I started. I know it is a difficult technique for experienced players. I have been working on Danny Boy, When Irish Eyes Are Shining, Lullaby, and some other very expressive songs. I would love to do “Hallelujah”, but without vibrato, not touching it. I love those on a mellow violin. It is very difficult to work on expressive bowing when you can’t do a technique that will add to that. 

I am now reaching those parts that really need vibrato and it is preventing me from improving any further, because I have no idea how to do it with my fingers the way they are on the strings. I keep thinking that the songs need something, and they do. It is now distracting me, and I am not pleased when playing them. I have been doing Danny Boy since late Sept. I have gone as far as I can without adding that. 

None of the videos show it in slow motion, explain how the fingers are to be placed on the strings, if they are always to be that way on the strings, or if they are shifted to an angle every time you want to do a vibrato and how to go about that before and after the vibrato, etc. 

My wrist is rather stiff. That wave is easy enough to do when not holding my violin, but the angle of the wave does not match up with the fingers on the string. The fingers do not go in the right direction and the knuckle joint does not bend the direction it needs to bend. It goes cross-wise on the neck, not up and down the string. Never. 

Now, my last lesson, two weeks ago (last week’s lesson was cancelled), my instructor said she would show me how to do trills in Danny Boy to embellish it? Since the lesson was cancelled, it never happened. In reading about trills, is that what is taught before vibrato? 

So, I am looking for a good book on vibrato, even at kids’ level, that explains all my questions above, with good illustrations and photos, and written instruction. I know that you should wait for your instructor to start you on vibrato, but I am not sure my left hand hold is correct and it is not being caught now, when I need to correct it before I get further along. 

I will explain about needing to learn things as they come up and not an easy way now and changing it later. This thread is long enough. 

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Bob
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February 3, 2019 - 5:26 pm
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@cid, don't get to upset because you're having trouble with vibrato. You can make beautiful music without it, but I agree, a nice vibrato would add to many pieces (like Danny Boy).

I'm still struggling with vibrato after several years. My second and third fingers work pretty well, but it's not steady, first and fourth are not good at all. 

I found the following after reading your post and it appears to have some very clear pictures showing finger position during vibrato. I hadn't seen this one before. Maybe it will help you too.

https://www.wikihow.com/Do-Vibrato-on-a-Violin

Good Luck and keep at it.

Bob in Lone Oak, Texas

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AndrewH
Sacramento, California
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February 3, 2019 - 6:40 pm
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I've never seen a book specifically on vibrato, but Simon Fischer's Basics, which is invaluable as a resource on violin technique generally, has an entire chapter on vibrato technique and exercises, with detailed instructions and some photos.

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cid
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February 3, 2019 - 6:58 pm
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@Bob Wow, that is fantastic! Every video and everything I have read has knuckles being bent but the angle of my fingers on the strings make that impossible. I noticed this violinist does not use knuckle movement and her fingers look like they are like mine are in the strings! This is fantastic. I never came across that when Googling Violin Vibrato. Watching Superbowl now, but tomorrow, I start a little practicing at a time  the way the instructions in that link say. Probably start with arm since I have really stiff wrists at the moment. 

Do you know how many times I have googled this and have not seen this link? Thank you so very much!

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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mookje
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February 4, 2019 - 10:07 pm
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I can’t play vibrato, it seems to be very difficult so good luck with learning it! 

 Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about dancing in the rain!!

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Gordon Shumway
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February 5, 2019 - 9:44 am
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The most frustrating thing about my first year will have been waiting to learn vibrato because the pieces that cry out for it occur before you are permitted to learn it. Sure, play the Corelli sarabande without it, that doesn't need it. But go one rung of the ladder higher and you have to suffer Schubert's entr'acte or Weill's tango-balade without it. That's like eating Bolognese sauce with no salt in it!

I always wanted to be a juvenile delinquent but my parents wouldn't let me.

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Fiddlerman
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February 7, 2019 - 10:57 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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I tried a left hand violin the other day and I was not able to vibrate with it even though I know exactly how to do it. One must work the motion in very slowly until it comes naturally. It can help to brace your instrument against a wall or something in the beginning. Then move back and forth slowly.....

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

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Scrap
Arizona
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February 7, 2019 - 12:26 pm
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I like the advice of bracing. I will try that. It is my goal to vibrate. I understand that music can be beautiful without it, but I also love the dynamic that it adds.

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Fiddlerman
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February 10, 2019 - 8:58 pm
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Good luck!!!

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

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cid
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February 10, 2019 - 9:47 pm
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@Fiddlerman I read about bracing against a wall or door. I was afraid it would damage the pegbox or neck. Good to know it won’t. I shelved vibrato for a while. I don’t think I am ready yet. No biggy. I just slowed those songs crying for it down, and am working on phrasing and dynamics like your videos mentioned.

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Gordon Shumway
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February 11, 2019 - 2:56 am
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Bracing shouldn't be forceful - just enough to hold the fiddle steady. No harm in placing a cushion or a glove or something between the fiddle and the wall. Or if you have Chinese silk wallpaper, you might want to protect the wallpaper.

I always wanted to be a juvenile delinquent but my parents wouldn't let me.

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Fiddlerman
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February 11, 2019 - 3:26 pm
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I suppose we should not push the scroll through the drywall when doing the bracing, and to be honest, I'm not sure that it's a good idea. Just believe that it could be a good way to start if everything moves when testing.

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

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wtw
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February 11, 2019 - 3:44 pm
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I've read the bracing advice before, not sure it was about vibrato though. Tried it one with my viola, and it didn't support its weight. Lesson, don't transpose everything about violin to viola 😀 .

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cid
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February 11, 2019 - 3:53 pm
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@Fiddlerman Yep, we just spent a lot of time spackling and painting the interior if this house. One bedroom and kitchen to go. Not interested in a hole in the wall. It took me a long time to agree to a wall mount for my violins and viola because it would be screwed into my beautiful walls! I haven’t even hung pictures ...  but I agreed to a violin/viola wall mount? Shows where my priorities are.

The hall will be better for my granddaughter’s artwork. More room. When her little sister is older, there will be room for hers, too. I don’t like those removable pull tab hangers. 

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Fiddlerman
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February 11, 2019 - 4:03 pm
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LOL cid.😜
Perhaps one can wrap a small towel, or hanky around the scroll to protect both the scroll and the wall.

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

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cid
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February 11, 2019 - 4:07 pm
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@Fiddlerman Good idea!

They call me, “Mellow Cello” 

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Gordon Shumway
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February 12, 2019 - 4:48 am
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To be honest, "bracing" (I tried it last night) seems to me to be for arm vibrato, which I can't do and am not convinced is quite right anyway. I'm going to start with wrist vibrato in 3rd position. That's easiest.

Bracing isn't even the right name for it - you just touch touch the wall with the scroll so you can move your left arm more freely.

I always wanted to be a juvenile delinquent but my parents wouldn't let me.

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damfino
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February 12, 2019 - 10:33 am
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When first learning vibrato, I would hold my fiddle and just practice the slow hand motion while doing things like watching TV or surfing the internet. It gave me extra time practicing the motion without having to worry about throwing the bow in the mix. I would also hold the fiddle guitar style occasionally at first to get a feel for that motion. I didn't do that a lot, but it did help getting to get a different view of it. This was with wrist vibrato. At some point I switched to a combo of wrist and arm vibrato because of an old thumb injury (I don't know why it bothered it, but the motion did for some reason). I meant to switch completely to arm vibrato, but I ended up with a combo of the two, and sometimes do one, sometimes do the other, but it's all without thinking and just doing whatever in the moment. 

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Fiddlerman
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February 12, 2019 - 10:39 am
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Gordon, I learned to vibrate using arm vibrato first. After I got that down the other vibrato just came to me. The finger movement is the most challanging part IMAO.
I didn't brace though. LOL

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

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