Violin Vibrato

Clayton Haslop

Violin vibrato is the rhythm of life. When playing the violin, the right arm expresses will and drive and the left arm expresses articulation. In between this will and articulation is emotion. Violin vibrato gives emotion to the music being played on the violin.

Vibrato gives each tone that is played feeling and interest. It makes the music become more alive and heartfelt. When the vibrato is more sensitive it adds more emotion, beauty and soul to the music.

Violin vibrato involves the flattening and the sharpening of a note being played on the violin. To give the music intensity you have to widen the frequency of the vibration as well. With these two factors in place you will achieve true emotional energy.

To play a vibrato with emotion, you can not play it only slow or only fast. You must be able to synthesise and control the speed of the delivery.

Some violinist say there are two proper forms of playing the vibrato on the violin.

The 1st type of vibrato happens you ‘vibrate’ your fingers. By vibrating your fingers this means the left hand holds down the violin string on the fingerboard and then you ‘rock’ the note slightly meaning the finger is bent and is moving backwards and forwards. This then causes an undulation and fluctuation in the note produced, thereby enriching the tone.

However, you must be careful that the finger on the string doesn’t change position because if it changes position you will be playing another note.

The 2nd violin vibrato method is when the whole forearm, hand and finger move as one. You can vibrate the note by using your whole forearm, hand down to your fingertip.

There is a 3rd way to play a vibrato that many violinists prefer not to use is the method of rotating the left hand or wrist to and fro very quickly. Lots of violin players prefer the first two violin vibrato methods.

The violin vibrato is particularly effective when playing long notes. Eventually the vibrato will become something that feels natural for you to play.

To summarize, violinists say that the two best ways of playing a violin vibrato is by either holding down the string with your finger while moving your finger backwards and forwards or by using the whole forearm, hand and finger to move as one.

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