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  • Hi, I'm Beth Blackerby from violinlab.com

  • and in this video I'm going to show you vibrato

  • super up close and in slow motion.

  • I'm going to point out somedon'tsas well as thedos”.

  • What I hope we convey to you

  • is that for a really warm, luscious, romantic style vibrato

  • and this is the vibrato that you love to hear from soloists

  • this is what you recognize as a gorgeous vibrato

  • and that the range of motion is very large, the amplitude is big

  • and that’s what you work for.

  • It’s easy to scale that back to play Baroque music or Classical music.

  • But you want to be able to have that really audible warm luscious vibrato

  • for playing romantic style music.

  • I'm talking about this kind of vibrato:

  • We are going to start with the 1st finger

  • we're going to do the different fingers, different speeds.

  • So hopefully youll get a lot from this video.

  • This side shot gives a nice view of that 1st knuckle joint.

  • And you can see how flexible it is.

  • This is something that’s too difficult to see with your own hand while youre playing.

  • In this slow-motion clip on the left

  • you can see just how relaxed and flattened the knuckle is

  • when the hand rocks back to the far side of the pad of the fingertip.

  • Here is a closer view of the 1st finger.

  • There is no audio because the camera doesn't capture audio

  • when the slow-motion feature is enabled.

  • But that’s good. It gives you the opportunity just to focus on the movement.

  • In this next clip, I want you to see a “don't”.

  • I see this frequently with students who grasp the neck

  • who maintain contact between the inside of the hand and the neck of the instrument.

  • This completely restricts the movement of the vibrato

  • almost precluding vibrato motion with the finger.

  • This is what happens.

  • You can barely detect that vibrato.

  • Notice how restricted the motion is.

  • The inside of the hand is hugging to the neck

  • which anchors the hand and doesn't allow the knuckle to move.

  • In this next slow-motion clip, I release the hand.

  • The hand comes unglued and is able to sweep back and forth alongside the neck.

  • Then the knuckle is able to bend, and you have a nice audible vibrato.

  • Again, see that really wide range of motion with the 2nd finger.

  • In the learning stages, it’s easier to do the vibrato with the 2nd finger than the 1st finger.

  • The hand is more balanced with the 2nd finger acting as a fulcrum at the center of the hand.

  • The hand swings back and forth around that center.

  • Along the same lines as the previousdon't”

  • I see a compensation when students are maintaining this contact.

  • I see the wrist moving back and forth, so this is pretty common.

  • The person thinks that they are doing a vibrato

  • it feels like a vibrato because the wrist is moving.

  • But it’s moving in the wrong way. First of all, the hand isn't moving back and forth this way.

  • So when this is locked and then this is moving

  • really essentially nothing is happening with the finger.

  • I can't really demonstrate this very well.

  • It's amazing how fast someone can vibrate like this.

  • So really the hand pivots back and forth on top of the forearm in this way.

  • You can see this in slow motion.

  • In this clip, I am hugging the neck with the hand and only moving the wrist

  • so you can see how this is just a wasted effort.

  • The finger itself is not being affected.

  • Like the 2nd finger, 3rd finger is an easier finger for vibrato in the beginning stages of learning.

  • For one, the joint at the end of the finger, or that first knuckle

  • already approaches the string at a more relaxed angle.

  • You can see that in this slow-motion clip.

  • You can see that angle has a built in flexibility.

  • I want to point out something about the thumb, and I hope you can see this in these close-ups.

  • When the thumb is relaxed, there’s not a lot of tension in the thumb

  • the skin of the thumb is able to move.

  • When we have a wide vibrato, it is going to pull and push

  • it’s going to tug on the thumb.

  • The thumb doesn't move, it doesn’t release its contact with the neck

  • yet the skin has a lot of mobility.

  • So when the thumb is too tight, then it prevents that movement

  • and it also it makes the violin move.

  • I get a lot of e-mails saying that when I do vibrato my violin moves back and forth.

  • That is because if there’s too much tension, it is going to pull and tug the violin

  • instead of allowing for the skin to be that layer in between the thumb and the violin.

  • This absorbs the motion and it moves very freely. I hope you can see that.

  • Taking a closer look at the thumb, you can actually see a little movement

  • in the base joint where the thumb joins the hand.

  • Which of course is going to allow for a broader hand motion.

  • So you can see that if the thumb is squeezing the neck

  • that joint will lock too and will in turn inhibit the motion of the vibrato.

  • Now hopefully you can see that little give of the skin against the neck

  • right at the pad of the tip of the thumb.

  • Here it is from a different angle.

  • The wiggling is a byproduct of the force of the vibrato motion

  • but it’s so important in preventing the violin from moving, and from being tugged.

  • Here is a vibrato that I would classify as too tight.

  • When there is just not enough flexibility in that 1st joint.

  • Sometimes it can get very fast and it’s narrow.

  • In this clip, notice the stiffness of the 1st knuckle

  • and how restricted the movement is.

  • This kind of vibrato comes off sounding narrow, tight, and a little dull.

  • If the finger itself is pressing too hard on the string

  • and with too much pressure then it sort of locks this 1st knuckle.

  • I get a lot of e-mails saying "I just don't have the flexibility in my knuckles”.

  • Unless you have joint problems, unless you have arthritis

  • you can move this joint. Just do this with your finger.

  • I can do this with the other hand.

  • I’ve never done vibrato with my right hand, but yet my joints move just fine.

  • The problem is that when there’s just too much pressure

  • and underneath the finger is too tight

  • it keeps the knuckle from bending.

  • So finding that magic combination:

  • enough pressure to keep the string down

  • and a light amount of pressure enough that the knuckle will still bend.

  • Experiment with this. You can see how you can still have tension

  • you can still have tensile strength in the finger

  • but yet the knuckle still can be flexible and move back and forth.

  • For most people, using vibrato on the 4th finger is the hardest.

  • The finger is naturally weaker, and is less balanced

  • and as it's the shortest finger and the farthest away from the neck

  • and is especially difficult for people with small hands.

  • We have to stretch the finger out further giving less leeway for movement.

  • Now I am going to freeze the shot.

  • Notice the angle of the finger to the string.

  • It’s almost perpendicular.

  • And you can see the indentions of the strings on my fingers in this still shot.

  • You can see how the string intersects the 4th finger

  • almost on a horizontal axis rather than the diagonal.

  • Now if you look closely at the fingertip you can see a slight circular motion.

  • The finger is sort of massaging the string in a circular fashion.

  • At the beginning of this video I played the opening of the Bruch violin Concerto.

  • And with this kind of piece we use a very large vibrato.

  • In all these slow motion examples

  • I am using a vibrato appropriate for a forte dynamic

  • where we need a large amplitude to project the sound.

  • So I have been using this style and this particular speed.

  • However, we don't always play forte.

  • In places where we use a softer dynamic, we need to narrow the vibrato a bit

  • or else it sounds too exaggerated.

  • In this example from the famous Meditation from Thais if I use a large vibrato

  • it is too much and sounds a little cartoonish.

  • So I narrow the vibrato a little, still staying flexible

  • and then I can vary the width of the vibrato as we sculpt our phrases

  • adding crescendos and decrescendos.

  • In a crescendo, we can widen the vibrato.

  • Returning to piano, the vibrato becomes more narrow.

  • I am going to crescendo here.

  • I made my vibrato wider to help give richness to the sound.

  • So in this next example you will see a narrow vibrato getting wider

  • and you can hear the difference in dynamic.

  • Soft dynamic at regular speed

  • here comes the louder dynamic

  • the vibrato gets wider.

  • You can see the amplitude difference

  • between thepiano' vibrato and thefortevibrato.

  • There is quite a bit.

  • Now I want to bring up "continuous vibrato".

  • As classical musicians we want to try

  • to keep the vibrato going all the time.

  • Even with fast note values

  • you wouldn't think you had enough time to use a vibrato.

  • However, once we have the vibrato motor running

  • we can still change fingers, and this is called Continuous Vibrato.

  • The question is, “is it really continuous”?

  • I think you will see in the next clip the answer to this question.

  • It's very interesting.

  • It sounds as if the vibrato continues from one note to the next.

  • However, what you will see is that we actually cannot multi-task with vibrato and finger action.

  • You can see there is a split second where the vibrato stops when we placed the finger down

  • and then likewise when we lift the finger up.

  • In this last clip, I want to show you vibrato in higher positions.

  • There is really nothing different

  • it is the same motion, only the angle of the wrist is changed.

  • This is normal, this is for high positions.

  • So we have to bring our hand