good vibrations

good vibrations

people tell me if i want to ‘fiddle’, i have to forget my vibration-technique…? problem, i like it, and i worked hard to get it… what is right about their remark?

Re: good vibrations

Do you mean your classical vibrato?

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Or is it something altogether more sinister, and not suitable for a family forum?

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I want to distance myself from that remark.

The voices told me to do it.

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Sinister, what could be sinister about a perfectly normal and harmless human activity? Just make sure you dispose of the batteries in an ecologically-friendly way Zozie…

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Well, vibrato certainly works fine for airs. Vibrato for dance tunes is generally a no-no, but I have heard several fiddlers using very occasional vibrato on tunes to good effect. An example would be Martin Byrnes. Some can get away with throwing it in there once in a while.

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OK, enough now, let’s get serious.

i was (one of or thé person) who made the remark.
my actual words were ‘lose the vibrato’. a bit harsch, but true in my opinion.
i also added that the places where she put the vibrato (any note longer then 1/8) were suited for the real irish ornamentation (cut-roll-…, i’m a fluter, so i don’t know all the right words for the right ornamentations).
am i wrong in this opinion? or what do you say?

MM

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Re: good vibrations

If you listen carefully to well-known *fiddlers*, you’ll find that the great majority use vibrato at times, even on dance tunes. The key is to not trowel it on like you’re playing Wagner, but to use it tastefully like any other ornament. Just as you wouldn’t use a roll on every note, vibrato on every note is bad - however, use in moderation can only improve playing.

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Of course ypou don’t have to forget your vibtation technique, you just ahver to learn a bucket load of other techniques. Don’t be put off though, none of them are any more difficult

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You can play the way you like it, but have some people say it’s not quite "right" or traditional.

Or you can play so that everyone likes your pure trad style, but you yourself like it a little less.

Up to you.

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Re: good vibrations

The other person who made or at least seconded the remark was me (BTW, I wasn’t sure it was you who started this discussion, Griet, cause your member profile is a bit cryptic;) ).

ITM tune playing and regular use of vibrato don’t go together very well. You could however use the vibrato to highlight one certain note (like meemtp says: very occasional), and even only then use a very ‘careful’, that is: not wide vibrato.

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so if you’re learning to play traditional music, and haven’tlearned classical violin, then vibrato wouldn’t necessarily be part of your technique, only asking because I’ve been trying to get that sound, and can’t.

Batteries

My vibrato doesn’t last long enough…what batteries do u use?
That’s funny Showad…I hear voices too….

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If you use vibrato then it should always be under complete control, just as ornaments should be. What vibrato should _never_ be used for is to disguise bad intonation.
Trevor

Vibrato/Bad Intonation

- And yet so many fiddlers are gulity.

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use it sparingly in dance tunes (which is reels and jigs). no you don’t have to give it up, but use it very sparingly.

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Who has time for vibrato in a reel or a jig?

Sometimes I don’t manage to stop myself on longer, held notes; old habits die hard. I’m still working on being conscious while playing (getting better at that, though). At least I don’t consider vibrato an excuse for playing out of tune, although I’ll have to admit I have occasionally employed a slide to compensate for hitting the wrong note.

Anybody else guilty of the same?

Carol

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Oh, I’ve used vibrato to flavor a note, hide bad intonation, simply just forgotten not to remember not to use vibrato (I started off with classical viola) and played it on a longer note, or simply because i just thought it sounded nice during a waltz or whatever.

The tune police have not come to get me. I expected them to, but they didn’t.

But no, it’s not considered particularly traditional, largely because most of them players in the past didn’t have the classical training, you see. Same for the use of 2nd, 3rd, 4th or whatever positions.

I stopped worrying about it quite so much when I saw that some of my fav players use a bit of it themselves. But it’s def a dead giveaway you started classical, if you vibrato every possible note.

Forget it? No. Use it within the boundaries of good taste? Sure. Okay, now let’s define good taste! ;)

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A lot depends on how subtle or blatant the vibrato is. A little goes a long way. I like to use a slow, brief waver to sweeten some notes, especially in contrast to the same note left plain on a previous round of the tune.

The point about control is spot on. But that’s true of any technique.

All that said, there is a beauty to unadorned notes—open strings, non-vibrato-ed held notes—that comes from their sheer simplicity and clearness of tone. Being able to get that strong, simple tone is an art in itself, and one that too many violinists and fiddlers alike neglect. But it’s the basis of good fiddling tone, regardless of what your left hand is doing.

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o, zozie,

https://thesession.org/discussions/1349/
https://thesession.org/discussions/1137/

these are two former discussions about the same subject.
i know my statement seemed a bit unnuanced, but in fact
i have one rule for all music: if you know what you CANNOT do, then you can start to do what you cannot do.
meaning: start with an empty leave: just the notes, no ornaments.
once you have those, start putting in ornamentations, but don’t overdo it. and vary these ornamentations the 2nd, 3rd time arround. so, i must say, you CAN put in a vibrato, but do it consciously: remember it is an ORNAMENTATION, be it not trad, but what is?
all depends offcourse whether you want to play ‘irish music in irish style’ or ‘irish tunes in classical style’. and that’s completly up to you. i will hold my opinion till you ask for it, anyway, i’ll try.

happy tunes griet, see you
mm

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Re: good vibrations

ok… as i’m an absolute beginner in irish (traditional??) music, i will keep my mouth shut on the subject and listen to a lot of recordings…anyway, i think that the music i play always will stay a bit the music ì play…, so it will have my own particular sound (and that of my violin…), no matter how many ages ago it was ‘composed’. In recordings i hear that also some other people find their own way to ‘interprete’ these traditionals, and yet try to hold the typical and traditional character, some can manage that, what a challenge ! if i play the music, i’m wearing a jeans, no traditional clothing 🙂 … Is this discussion one of ‘conservatives’ against ‘progressives’… maybe?

zeg amai, en zeggen dat ik dat bij nen kriek op café allemaal in ‘t vlaams mag zeggen… hier moet ik mijn tong in bochten zitten wringen om het eruit te krijgen…’t is wel spectaculair hoeveel reacties er komen 🙂

Grietings

Re: good vibrations

no. it is not. no vibrato. sorry. its not conservatives, or progressives. just dont do it. once you learn to not do it you can learn to do it tastefully. but seriously, this isnt one of those, "irish people are being reactionist" things. vibrato is not a classical technique either! it is modern. flutes didnt get vibrato all over the world until late into the 20th century. its a modern, horrible, evil invention. haha, that being said vibrato is very fun to do. artistically. i do not do it in irish music, but i do it in classical cuz its expected.

you have to know that classical, baroque, renaissance, medieval, and all throughout history vibrato was an ornamentation, not a rule. and a very sparse ornamentation at that. because it was believed it makes you out of tune, which it does. as Georges Barrère said, "For three hundred years flutists tried to play in tune. Then they gave up and invented vibrato." even well into the 20th century, not all places was vibrato accepted. up until the 40’s, in fact. it is a french technique, at least flutewise. i dont know about for violin. but i know for a fact it is historically incorrect to play historical music with vibrato. they didnt even sing with vibrato, back in the day. i do believe that strings have had vibrato longer than flutes, but not forever!

you may feel like "sticking it to the man" and using vibrato in ITM, but its not worth it. thats like a flutist tonguing every note! it just doesnt sound good. if you do it, you’re not playing ITM. you’re a classical player trying to play ITM. there is a lot of leeway, and progressive techniques that arent fully trad, but vibrato isnt one of them. irish flute playing is descendent of ENGLISH CLASSICAL AND BAROQUE flute playing. most people the world over play french style, even in england. scotland, ireland, and other trads of the region preserve the old techniques. the harsh tones, the *sparse* finger vibrato, the harmonics and tone colors.

you playing vibrato cuz you are too stubborn and lazy, is like me deciding to play classical like irish. now, i dont like playing classical correctly, but i do it, and i do it because thats what everyone wants. i will never be able to play in a symphony or anything if i decide to play how the heck i want to. once i fully master classical technique will i start to put in proper baroque and classical ornamentation (which was not written in, like ITM, but which is different than ITM ornamentation), but i will only do it when a director (i have never played in a symphony, in case that didnt show through, but i would like to someday, when i am good enough) would let me, or playing with other historically correct musicians. also, if i was soloing by myself then i guess i would play it how i wanted to, but only because i can play it the modern way.

when you play with other people, its not about how good you are. tis how good you can play with them. and that means just not showing off. it means when i play the piccolo in band i have to take the piccolo part, even though sometimes its not as challenging as the flute par. i do get many soloes, but i would rather play all the time. but thats not the point. no one else in my band plays the piccolo, and i can play it pretty well, so its my job and i just do it. no one will like playing with you in ITM if you just make up your own rules and say follow me, i’m the newbie. when youre up on stage, playing, play your way, but you can not make up your own style that is in your face, "look at me i dont want ot play irish like irish" unless you can play irish. the people who play things in a non traditional way didnt do that because they were too lazy to play it the traditional way. they learned it, mastered it, and then innovated.

haha, sorry if that came off as a bit harsh.

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Re: good vibrations

I’ve seen (and heard, of course) any number of classical string players who are seemingly incapable of switching off their vibrato when required by the conductor, so you get the unacceptable sound of a romantic era vibrato penetrating through everone else’s vibrato-free sound in a Vivaldi slow movement. Happily, these problems get ironed out before the performance comes round. Such players who are fixated on vibrato seem to me to have only one type of vibrato, whereas there are in fact dozens of different types. Again, a lack of control is indicated.
Another problem, possibly indirectly related to vibrato, is the reluctance many classical violinists have of playing the open E-string. This reluctance, I may say, is encouraged by the attitude of many (but not all) conductors who sometimes have been known to extend their prohibition of open strings to the A. Consequently, a vicious circle comes into being: the violinist doesn’t use the open E because it makes a harsh tone, and he makes the harsh tone because he isn’t used to playing the open E. I suspect one reason for this is that it isn’t easy to get a number of E-strings to keep in tune with each other over an extended period of time - e.g. in a movement of symphony. The conductor solves the problem by making everyone play that E as a fingered note on the A-string - with vibrato, of course 🙂
Trevor

Re: good vibrations

daiv - "flutes didn’t get vibrato all over the world until the late 20th century"? How could you possibly have come up with that, in the face of recorded and written sources? If you do nothing else, do an internet search on Johann Joachim Quantz (for violin, look up the treatise written by Leopold Mozart on violin playing). As far as vibrato making one out of tune, a proper technique will not change the perceived pitch. As far as ITM goes, listen, listen, listen - especially to old 78s in flute playing for the vibrato issue. You may be surprised.

I think it’s wonderful that you’re sensitive to the fact that different periods of music have different stylistic demands - however, more research on your part is required for an informed opinion.

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all over the world means that in parts of england there were classical musicians who didnt use it. it was around in the 1800’s, but it was a very sparse technique for the flute, and it was primarily in france. and like i said, i dont know how long it was on strings, but flute it is a new thing. and whenever they did use vibrato they used finger vibrato. even into this century, there were those who said that woodwinds should have nothing to do with vibrato, and only strings should do vibrato.

and like i said, people did use it extensively in this century, i was just saying there were some who still refused to do it.

and yes, it makes you out of tune. that might be why you dont tune your instrument while doing with vibrato. sure, it sounds like we’re not out of tune when we do it, but you are. but you fluctuate so much from being in and out of tune that it seems like you are in tune because the note that you keep going back to is in tune. it is much easier to have a solid tone with vibrato on the flute than it is to without vibrato.

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Re: good vibrations

The ear hears the highest pitch in a note with vibrato as being the part it considers in intonation, so if you do vibrato on flute you often need to roll out a bit - this may be why you think it makes notes out of tune. Most musicians don’t notice themselves make this adjustment. You didn’t look up Quantz (and you probably don’t know about any other Baroque treatises on wind playing), so I’m not going to elaborate further on the general usage of vibrato on flute apart from saying simply that you’re wrong. I’d also strongly suggest listening to old recordings again, but I’m not sure you’ll bother.

Re: good vibrations

i did say the ear hears it in tune. though technically it is not in tune.

in fact, i have quantz’s treatise on flute playing on my list of books to buy on amazon, but i do not have the money, and it has been there for a long time.

and perhaps you misunderstood me. the people saying no vibrato in this century were the minority. unless i am wrong, vibrato was not as pervasive before the 1850s as it is now. it was definately a technique, used by all flutists, but i do not believe it was used almost 100% of the time as it is now. especially in england. in france and germany, i do not know.

i have read boehm’s treatise on the flute, and i do not remember vibrato being mentioned, in any form. if you know of when he did mention it, please point it out to me. although i have used his discussion on trills to influence my vibrato technique. and i will concede just cuz he mentioned dozens of minute techniques and not vibrato does not mean he didnt use it, if in fact he did not mention it. however, to boehm, tone was of utmost importance, in teaching, playing, and of course why he reconstructed the flute.

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Re: good vibrations

check out this from
http://www.standingstones.com/flutevib.html enough?

In his Musica instrumentalis deudch (1528), Agricola lists "trembling breath" as a "special grace." Praetorius (1619) discusses vibrato created by diaphragm action. Mersenne (1636) talks of "certain tremolos which intoxicate the soul" and specifies that organ tremolo has a frequency of four vibrations per second, which he suggests as a model for wind players. Hotteterre, in his Principes de la Flute (1707), discusses a finger vibrato, called a flattement, which also appears in the methods of Corrette (about 1735) and Mahaut (1759). Quantz’s Versuch (1752) discusses a messa di voce, a swelling and diminishing of volume within a single note, produced by a finger flattement on the nearest open hole. (Because this procedure also lowers the pitch, Quantz advised flutists to compensate with the embouchure.) Delusse (about 1761) speaks of a breath vibrato, used in imitation of the organ tremulant, as a measured expression of "solemnity and terror." And Tromlitz (1791) discusses the Bebung, a finger vibrato. Agricola (…) also writes that one should play with vibrato: ‘If you want to have a fundament, learn to pipe with trembling breath, for it greatly embellishes the melody’. Now, Boehm is a special case - he’s a little blip in the 19th century, when flute players were struggling with how to blend orchestral textures. No vibrato didn’t really ever catch on.

Remember the Agricola document is from 1528. Enough?

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quite. so, i have a question. most of that, but not all, refers to finger vibrato, which i believe i did mention, and if i did not, sorry. and then, i am under the general impression that in all but one or 2 of those cases, they say that is an ornament, and not a rule. i am NOT trying to prove my point, i am just trying to understand.

if i was saying that it did not exist, i did not mean to! i meant to say that it was a "special grace" until the mid 18th century. i think i come off as over zealous sometimes…. a long history of finger vibrato i was aware of, but not of breathe vibrato. thank you for the research!

i have a question. was finger vibrato ever a technique on recorders? i know that air vibrato is not a technique for recorder, as far as i know. i have been told by different people *not* to do it, and it does sound right without it. i cant quite get my alto recorder to do finger vibrato right, and i have only played a bass once, i didnt try. i have a feeling it wouldnt sound to good on a crumhorn, but i havent tried yet.

this is where i was getting a lot of my information (of course, besides boehm, because i own the book) http://www.standingstones.com/flutevib.html about flute vibrato. on closer inspection it looks to deal mostly with english classical flute vibrato and not the rest of europe, but it does talk about that. i think i was misinterpreting a lot of it. was i misinterpreting it wrong, or was it wrong? i have a suspicion it was me.

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Re: good vibrations

Might have been reading it wrong. Actually, the Agricola, Mersenne, Praetorius, and Delusse refer to diaphragmatic (air) vibrato specifically, almost half the sources cited above. For that matter, all that info comes from the same website you cited (which I suspected you might have read). Recorder *did* use diaphragmatic vibrato and finger vibrato both - again, all you have to do (besides a few minutes research) is listen to contemporary experts trying to play in the old styles! We’re not in disagreement that vibrato was an ornament - but the very fact that it was an ornament tells us *nothing* about how often it should be used! The sources, frankly, say "use it" - Leopold Mozart, who was old when he wrote his treatise in the late Baroque/early Classical eras, says basically to use it on every non-16th note. Agricola is perhaps the most conservative source - but it’s also almost half a milennium old.

At any rate - you’ve taken the most important step in actually caring about how the musicians of previous periods did it! The next step in interpreting ancient music is even harder, and is best phrased as a question - since modern listeners ears’ have been exposed to different types of music than, say, 17th century ears, do we modify the ancient techniques for the purpose of acheiving the same emotional effect 17th century listeners felt, or do we expect the modern listeners to meet us more than half-way in the interest of authenticity? That one takes a long time to answer.

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flatlandfiddler and daiv,
thank you for the very usefull information of the existance and use of vibrato in every form in CLASSICAL music.
what about in a PUB SESSION?
mm

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mm, scroll up 🙂 right under your first comment, I wrote that one might listen to well-known ITM fiddle players closely - you’ll find a lot more vibrato than you’d expect, I’ll warrant.

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haha, i read it all the way through and i guess i got the wrong impressions of it.

for the authenticity vs. appreciatability (dont think thats a word), i would say play as authentically as possible for people who want to hear it that way, and not for people who dont. and depending on the situation, mix the two. but even then that is not a good rule! there are some pieces i play that are classical that i dont like with vibrato, and some that i dont like with vibrato, regardless for both of note length.

i think above all the most important thing is to be aware of how it may or may not have been played, not to recreate what they did *all the time*, but to be aware that our way is not the only way. question all your assumptions and you will get somewhere. you will learn new techniques. you can sometimes use vibrato as an ornament for straight tone, and even sometimes use straight tone as an ornament for a vibrating tone. one of my favorite things to do is start a really long note straight, put fast vibrato into the middle of it, and really slow, almost harmonic vibrato at the end. of course there are not very many pieces where this is appropriate in, but it has an amazing affect.

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