Old World or New, Sacred or Profane

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Vibrato with Emily

Gottago asked, so I have an excuse to tell.

Emily feels my vibrato tends to be too fast. Yeah, true, I sort of wind up and let 'er rip, Boioioioioioinnng, just leaving it boing on automatic pilot.

Emily had me do a chromatic scale (Duport-style: 3 fingers-to-3 fingers) with very slow, very wide vibrato cycles. I guess it was about 30 or 40 cycles a minute, if I remember right.

The important thing is to keep the motion always constant at the same boringly slow speed; neither speed up nor go into turn-signal mode. That's when you just flip from one side to another, pausing on a side: High...Low...High...Low... Not good, that's cheating. Ya gotta keep it in constant slow motion like a sine wave. Requires patience, it's so tempting to just flip-flop or speed up to get that bounce.

With a metronome, one can then take that slow vibrato pulse and double it, triple it, and quadruple it.

Another point is to maintain good forearm motion. Emily said I had good forearm motion, so that wasn't an issue. But at home, I found my forearm motion is not so good on the 4th finger. At the lesson, we didn't do 4th finger with the exercise, that I can remember. You know me, always finding some way to not do exactly as I'm told ;-). So now I'm trying to incorporate 4th finger in the exercise to see if I can cultivate the same motion I can get on the other fingers.

1 comment:

Emily said...

It was such a good lesson, although with people who are so focused and driven, a one hour one-off is tragically short! Terry's vibrato was the first thing that I noticed, and, like most of what I teach, I used to have the "ever-present" vibrato too. You know, when you play every note with vibrato, no matter what the context, and it's very hard to turn off.

My thesis is that vibrato is an affectation, and that you should choose when to use it, and that you also be in control of the speed. If you have a hard time with either of those elements, you should put yourself on vibrato probation.

Terry valiantly took me at my word and gave it a shot. I hope to hear more soon. Manon has done a simply tremendous job with him, and it's no wonder she is so well thought of down here in LA.