In the field of music, both in singing and instrument playing, vibrato adds more emotion to the music. The effect of a vibrato is more pronounced and the emotion more felt when it is used in violins. As you prepare for your violin lessons, here are some important things to know when applying the vibrato effect:
• A stiff vibrato finger will produce a stiff note. Keep your finger arched and tender to maintain its flexibility.
• There are basically three ways of creating a vibrato: the arm vibrato, the finger vibrato, and the finger vibrato. If you are just a beginner, you might want to try and learn all three at first, and see where you are most comfortable with, and which style gives you the best sound. What is important in all styles is, as mentioned previously, you maintain a lot of flexibility.
• Learn how to avoid the "dead" note. This happens when you suddenly shift from a note with vibrato to a straight note without one. It usually happens when you shift fingers, so make sure you hand off from one finger to the next seamlessly.
• Do not let your vibrato raise the pitch of the note. It only serves as a decoration for a note from below, and it must not raise the note higher. Otherwise, your listeners will hear you as out of tune.
• A proper vibrato is when your fingertip rolls on top of the violin string, and not slides over the string. Sliding it over the string will either lower the chord (which may be OK in some situations), and raise the chord tune (which is never OK for a vibrato).
• The speed of your vibrato is also very obvious to your listeners, so make sure you apply the appropriate one for whatever type of music you are playing. Melancholic and romantic tunes need a wide or slow vibrato, while up temp tunes are better served with a narrow or fast vibrato effect.
• Watch and learn from the professionals. There are dozens of videos online that you can easily watch and even download. Study your favorite violinist's vibrato speed, and see how they manage to fluidly slow it down or speed it up. Watch loosely for their techniques, and you might surprise yourself if you can mirror their abilities even before you start your violin lessons!
• Use a metronome to give you a different aural vantage point of what you have been accustomed to. When you have practiced your vibrato for hours and hours already, you tend to lose perspective on what other styles or technique you can use. Metronomes help you count your "wiggles". Practice with the metronome division 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Once you get the hang of it, you can increase the speed of your vibrato.
This are tips if you are already in the vibrato part of your violin lessons. As a beginner though, a lot of experts and professionals will advise that you first master and get comfortable with the basic, especially the wrist and hand positioning. Techniques learned and practiced in the right order will definitely give you a better advantage until you get to that vibrato part.
Audrey Tan is a music instructor in Singapore who loves to share her extensive knowledge of music and the art of performing to her students and blog readers. Visit her site at www.singaporeviolinlessons.com
or call (065) 8168 8251.