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Vibrato Anyone?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (6 votes) 
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starise
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March 9, 2020 - 11:59 am
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If you consider yourself pretty good at vibrato, can you share how you learned it?

I am almost there with it...or course "almost" isn't there yet.

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BillyG
Brora, North-east Scotland
March 9, 2020 - 12:22 pm
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Blood, sweat and tears, brother....  B, S and T

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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Gordon Shumway
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March 9, 2020 - 12:41 pm
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Start in third position with your second finger on the E on the A string. Your wrist will be supported on the upper bout of the violin.

First you learn to move your left hand without jiggling your bowing.

Make sure the note is always in tune - it is not right to use vibrato instead of good intonation. Use your ears and be subjective - don't be misled by those theorists who tell you the note has to be flat. If it sounds right, it may well be flat, but that's not the same thing!

When you've got that far, you can listen to the speed of your vibrato. It isn't good to have it too fast all the time. Learning to slow it down and make it even at slow speeds takes effort. I got the impression that maybe cellists use much faster vibrato. If that's true, it may be that those fatter strings require a lot more effort. But it's good to have a range of effects, not just one (and a laconic person might add, "a range that includes no vibrato.").

Be relaxed.

Andrew

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BillyG
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March 9, 2020 - 1:45 pm
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🙂 Alf @Gordon Shumway - thank you for the meaningful response - I couldn't really come up with one - other than "it just happens eventually".... So, I avoided the apparently obvious ! 

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

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MoonShadows
Stroudsburg, PA
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March 9, 2020 - 4:48 pm
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BillyG said
Blood, sweat and tears, brother....  B, S and T

  

And, here I am watching Blood, Sweat and Tears looking for the violinist while saying to myself...BS&T didn't have a violinist! Maybe I should have read your text first! dazed

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks - A Blog & Forum for Fiddle Talk, Fiddle Music, and Learning to Play the Fiddle as an Adult

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GregW
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March 9, 2020 - 5:33 pm
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@Billyg that was a pretty decent recording for back in the day!  what did you use to make this with? coffee2

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AndrewH
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March 10, 2020 - 8:12 am
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Unfortunately, I honestly don't remember how I originally learned it, except that it took months of trying to learn it before something suddenly clicked. It was probably 16 or 17 years ago.

I would recommend learning it by doing it slowly. Start out with one back-and-forth motion per beat on a metronome, then two, then four, and then from there start to make it a continuous vibrato. I've noticed that people who start off trying to do it fast often end up with what I call a "twitch" vibrato: a very fast, very tense vibrato that dies soon after the beginning of each note. Learn to keep it relaxed so that you can sustain it through a long note.

The key to not having the violin move around is to allow the thumb to support the neck from below and pivot freely. Shift your elbow to the right and pull your thumb more under the neck, so that your 1st finger isn't pressing against the neck. You don't need to pull your thumb all the way under the neck; the neck should just rest on the side of your thumb somewhere around the top joint.

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starise
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March 10, 2020 - 1:25 pm
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@BillyG, I'm ok with the sweat and the tears part...when it comes to the blood though, I'm not sure I am on board with the idea 🙂

@AndrewH, Thanks for these tips! It seems to be difficult for me to pull my thumb under the neck like that. Hopefully after many contortions I'll finally stretch that hand into place. Sometimes I actually "get it". This seems to be temporary or something I can't duplicate every time. Also seems to be dependent on the fingers or fingerings used and in which positions I'm playing. I can do it seemingly ok on the higher strings in lower positions. When I go to 4th finger positions I don't have as much wrist flexibility. I have noticed some good players will also have brief vibrato. Their vibrato is not always dependent on slower longer notes.

What works for one finger position seemingly needs modification in different varied positions, so that if I learn it I need to lean where to vary it and when. It does not appear to be blanket technique.

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AndrewH
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March 10, 2020 - 7:24 pm
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starise said
@BillyG, I'm ok with the sweat and the tears part...when it comes to the blood though, I'm not sure I am on board with the idea 🙂

@AndrewH, Thanks for these tips! It seems to be difficult for me to pull my thumb under the neck like that. Hopefully after many contortions I'll finally stretch that hand into place. Sometimes I actually "get it". This seems to be temporary or something I can't duplicate every time. Also seems to be dependent on the fingers or fingerings used and in which positions I'm playing. I can do it seemingly ok on the higher strings in lower positions. When I go to 4th finger positions I don't have as much wrist flexibility. I have noticed some good players will also have brief vibrato. Their vibrato is not always dependent on slower longer notes.

What works for one finger position seemingly needs modification in different varied positions, so that if I learn it I need to lean where to vary it and when. It does not appear to be blanket technique.

  

Vibrato won't always be sustained through a note, but not always sustaining it and not being able to sustain it are two different things. Too much muscle tension is a bad thing in general -- the kind of "twitch" vibrato that can't be sustained is extremely tense and tends to lead to injuries over time.

You don't need to pull your thumb completely under the neck, it's really only a subtle shift to get your first finger away from the neck. And it's mostly the elbow swinging to the right. You may need to reposition the violin to make it easier, depending on your arm length and hand size. For me, playing viola, it seems to be easier when the viola is angled more in front of me rather than to to the side.

Here are some tricks for learning a relaxed vibrato:

It turns out I have a video clip gives a really good view of what my thumb is doing in the context of playing a piece -- I took it with my phone on my music stand during a rehearsal so the camera is pointed almost straight at my hand.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/V8dY.....xri5CPRTF9

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starise
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March 11, 2020 - 10:21 am
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Thanks Andrew for these helpful tips and videos!

One guy I know of was using Intonia and looking at the frequency cycles on it to see how even his vibrato was. I'm not sure I am ready for that just yet.

My teacher is really hammering the idea of proper left hand /finger position to me. A lot of what she is telling me coincides with what you say here. Though she doesn't teach vibrato. I love my shoulder rest but might need to investigate my chin rest again to get a little more support there. I can hold my violin up with only my neck and shoulder, but this is only in one position. Any slight move of the violin either left or right moves the violin away from that supported position. Even moving a half inch causes some instability. At that point more of the weight is on the hand again.

I am slowly getting better at keeping my hand in the right place on the neck. Sometimes it seems almost impossible to not use my thumb as anything but a rest pad. Naturally the instrument wants to fall between my thumb and forefinger. Turning the hand avoids this. That takes a lot of wrist and arm motion that not everyone seems to have.I can do it but admittedly it sometimes hurts. FWIW I have smaller hands too. More advantageous I think for those with smaller hands to get the hand moved further around the neck.

I'll keep working on it with these pointers in mind. Thanks!

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Fiddlerman
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March 11, 2020 - 11:49 am
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Have erect fingers that pull back and then become erect again. Weight on the left side of your fingertip (the side close to your thumb) will help with the right movement.
For arm vibrato, pull your whole arm back and forth.
For wrist vibrato, your wrist bends back then forward.
For finger vibrato, you move less of your wrist and more finger.
There are combinations of all these vibratos depending on what type of music you play and your taste.
I have about 4 videos on YouTube related to vibrato. My vibrato for dummies gets the most hits. I can't stand watching them though. 🙁

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

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Barry
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March 11, 2020 - 12:11 pm
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Fiddlerman said
Have erect fingers that pull back and then become erect again. Weight on the left side of your fingertip (the side close to your thumb) will help with the right movement.

For arm vibrato, pull your whole arm back and forth.

For wrist vibrato, your wrist bends back then forward.

For finger vibrato, you move less of your wrist and more finger.

There are combinations of all these vibratos depending on what type of music you play and your taste.

I have about 4 videos on YouTube related to vibrato. My vibrato for dummies gets the most hits. I can't stand watching them though. 🙁

  

ive found that i use all these depending on what the note needs, i even use some guitar vibrato at times including a flutter like BB King uses

There is no shame in playing twinkle, youre playing Mozart

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starise
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March 11, 2020 - 1:32 pm
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Fiddlerman said
Have erect fingers that pull back and then become erect again. Weight on the left side of your fingertip (the side close to your thumb) will help with the right movement.

For arm vibrato, pull your whole arm back and forth.

For wrist vibrato, your wrist bends back then forward.

For finger vibrato, you move less of your wrist and more finger.

There are combinations of all these vibratos depending on what type of music you play and your taste.

I have about 4 videos on YouTube related to vibrato. My vibrato for dummies gets the most hits. I can't stand watching them though. 🙁

  

Thanks a bunch for posting on this. I will check for those videos Pierre. Also plan to print this out. 

I recently noticed a bunch of other really good videos on this site that look both fun and educational. I plan to take the time to get around to them and check them out. I looked at the one on Jazz Improvisation video you made, actually there were two. I really liked that. I have been into jazz lately and even made a composition on it. I didn't post it here because it is piano.

You have tons of interesting videos I plan to take a look at. Thanks again!

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Gordon Shumway
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March 11, 2020 - 1:42 pm
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starise said
One guy I know of was using Intonia and looking at the frequency cycles on it to see how even his vibrato was.

Don't use machines, use your ears.

An awful lot of learning the violin involves learning to use your ears as well as your fingers, arms and hands.

Andrew

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starise
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March 11, 2020 - 1:45 pm
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Gordon Shumway said

starise said

One guy I know of was using Intonia and looking at the frequency cycles on it to see how even his vibrato was.

Don't use machines, use your ears.

An awful lot of learning the violin involves learning to use your ears as well as your fingers, arms and hands.

  

Exactly what my teacher told me. I tried to explain it. She said, " Oh, you don't need that, use your ears".

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Gordon Shumway
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March 11, 2020 - 1:57 pm
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Same with intonation. Someone on vcom asked if they could play with a tuner permanently on. The answer is, no, for many reasons.

Andrew

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Fiddlerman
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March 11, 2020 - 2:16 pm
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I have about 4 videos. Hate watching them myself but some people find them very helpful. Check out my Vibrato for Dummies if you like.

Here are some pointers that many teachers won't mention.

Roll your fingertips forward and backwards on the string using one, several or all of these three: Arm, wrist and finger.

Keep your arm slightly more under the violin for a better finger angle.

Apply more pressure to the left side of your finger from your playing view to give more strength and a better finger position. Try it and you'll understand. 😁

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

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starise
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March 12, 2020 - 9:35 am
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Thanks Fiddlerman! Much appreciated! 

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MoonShadows
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Found these while doing a search for a tune played by this guy. I'm not even close to learning vibrato, but I remembered this topic and thought these 3 videos might be of interest.

Jim

Fiddling for Older Folks - A Blog & Forum for Fiddle Talk, Fiddle Music, and Learning to Play the Fiddle as an Adult

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starise
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March 16, 2020 - 2:22 pm
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Thanks Jim.

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