Technique: Continuous vibrato

exercise 1


Vibrato has no value aside from as a part of our sound: it is a precise effect that has to be calibrated against bow speed and articulation, to become an integral part of what we do. From the time of Kreisler (1875–1962) and probably before, violinists have sought to use vibrato to emulate the great, beautiful, singing, bel canto human voice. This vibrato is not the kind that might be applied in Baroque music, or even Classical repertoire – with the exception of Schubert, who was a composer of song. It is a continuous, controlled vibrato that has only really been possible since the invention of the chin rest, which raised the violin considerably and reduced the amount of support needed from the left arm, so that violinists and violists could really develop freedom of the wrist and fingers. If continuous vibrato is used correctly, we barely see it or hear it, because it becomes such an ideal part of the sound we create with the bow.


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