Brass Band Vibrato

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Brian Bowen, Jan 15, 2004.

  1. Brian Bowen

    Brian Bowen Active Member

    Linked to the French Horn debate:

    If we're talking about adding more colour to the brass band, it might also be worth asking why many players seem unable, or unwilling, to vary their vibrato. So many times I've heard passages that require, say, a trumpet-like style (dare I say masculine?) only for it to be played with the same fluffy vibrato as everything else -- rather like a Hammond organ with "vibrato" stuck in the on position. No additional instruments required here, just more imagination and thinking outside the box. Oh, and you're unlikely to find French horn players employing all that fluffy vibrato either.
  2. Lauradoll

    Lauradoll Active Member

    Our conductor has many phrases for the style of vib he'd like! Our ex soprano player WAS the VIBMEISTER!! Haha!
  3. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    I wont say anything too mean about vib, as Leisa is the vib-queen and might kill me...

    Anyway, I do find sometimes that I wish people would think more about where they wobble. Playing a jazz arrangement with the youth band it bugs me when the players get all vibby... My "assistant principal" trom (we have waaaay too many) even turned to me and said "Better put a load of vib on these quiet bits" to which my reaction was slightly unkind, and possibly very hurtful...
  4. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I've just had a thought! (Rare I know)

    You play for Youth Brass 2000.
    About 3 or 4 years ago on Nigel Horne's brass band mailing list, a young (I think he was about 14) Trombonist from the same band tried to assure me that this was the 'correct' way to play :idea: . His name was, if I recall correctly, Mike Larwood. Same person?

  5. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    no it was a different guy :D hehe but i remember that
  6. asteria

    asteria Member

    Hey, don't side with the french horns!!

    I agree tho, my teacher is always going on at me because i have an automatic vibrato that i use out of pure habit. Sounds great for some things but totally inappropriate for others, so i've actually been told to practice as many different vibs as i can!

    Brass bands try to play such a wide variety of music, and sometimes we fall flat on our faces cos we try and use the same style all the time. The best bands can swap with ease between a classical overture and a big band razzing number.

    The more variety the better i say!
  7. midwalesman

    midwalesman Member


    I agree with most of the points that have been said and that sometimes Vibrato is over used. However, I know quite a few people that say that changing a vibrato can change the "band sound" and thats not what they want.

    In my opinion, the amount and style of vibrato used should depend on the piece that is being played. A piece such as a hymn tune has a nice warm vibrato whilst if a band were playing, "Jazz" (Wilby) for instance, then the vibrato perhaps should be at the end of the note and increases in intensity.

    The vibrato can also be an indicator to the geographic placement of the band, a band from Wales may have a different sound due to a wider type of vibrato than a band from Lancashire ? Who knows ? But there is a belief that the sounds of orchestral brass sections differ from which country they come from, i.e LSO and the Russian Ballet.

    The vibrato that we have makes us distinct from those bands from other countries, but it shouldn't be over used in situations which doesn't need it.

    Thats my opinion anyway,
  8. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    In a nutshell. Vibrato, judiciously used, makes a wonderful contribution to any brass group sound. Not good for fanfare type stuff, tho'! (Not to my ears, anyway) Different types of vibrato for different pieces, though (it is used in big band stuff too, but it goes with a fatter sound and tends to be a wider vibrato when employed i.e. for ballads and the like)

    Reminds me of tracks which sticks in my memory from a couple of the Locke Brass Consort's recordings. One (an excerpt from 'Magic Flute') sess it being used on a piccolo trumpet and it works wonderfully. Another, on an album of music by the Belgium composer Francois Glorieux is used by the ex RPO principal trumpet Ray Simmons on a piece entitled 'Hymn to Humanity' and again, not on every note but on the longer notes it's extremely sweet sounding. Martin Winter's style of playing appeals to me too in that respect - the mixing of straight and vibrato, as does Maurice Murphy and Rod Franks (trumpeters I know, but started in bands. It's evident in their playing and it's all the better for it IMHO). Vibrato certainly shouldn't be discouraged, just tempered now and again.
  9. Dave Euph

    Dave Euph Member

    Up until recently I have been very much a "vib-less" player, probably the one flaw of my first teacher - in teaching me how to play vib.

    Really it is something I am increasingly using though, yet the style of my vib can still be a little random. I tend to just use it where I consider it appropriate.
  10. Lauradoll

    Lauradoll Active Member

    I played in a band in Scotland (who shall remain maneless) the solo euph player shook his euph to create vibrato.......... all it did was reduce the band to tears of laughter..aah those were the days!!!
  11. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    Not the same person... however, taking playing advice from Mike would be like taking advice on flying from a giraffe.
  12. McEuphie

    McEuphie Member

    Interesting point this and I'd like to add an extra thought:

    Are we discussing "true" vibrato or the wobble effects of nervousness on stage?

    I'm playing in the 4th section areas this year and will be interested in hearing how bands cope with the second movement of Partita where EG requests "No vibrato" - and what the judges remarks will be like - can you differentiate from true vibrato or nervous wobble?
  13. asteria

    asteria Member

    Is that what you meant?! :lol:
  14. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    sometimes it's not just vibrato, its a style that could be wrong for the moment. That's why in the "How was your first rehearsal back" thread, I made mention to imagery. Best example, because I do it nearly every week, it basses.

    In lower grade bands....OK, in MY lower grade band, the basses tend thing being a tuba player myself, I want loud and pompous. Yes, I'd like to hear a nice tuba, but not 24-7! I don't want Sousa in the middle of a hymn! I don't want Bach in the middle of Sparke, either! So I take the time to discuss with my basses where I am trying to take the section of music, and discuss what the basses can do to get there. Sometimes it gets tricky ("I want nice smooth playing guys, but separate the notes!") but after a while, we get there.

    It could sometimes be the same with the vibrato. If you feel the vibrato is wrong, explain metaphorically what you're looking for. Demonstrate it if you are capable. Conductors who don't make use of all their skills and tools are letting themselves ands their bands down (Something I picked up from stupid conducting cource through uni. The only decent thing the damn choir leader taught me!)
  15. Lauradoll

    Lauradoll Active Member

    Course :shock: :shock: Glad you found my deliberate mistake. Nameless!!!!!
  16. asteria

    asteria Member

    I prefer maneless, makes it sound like a band full of baldies!! They must have problems with stage light reflections in concerts!

    I've been nervous in a slow melody contest before and got the written comment 'nice vib' - I was trying not to use any!
  17. Lauradoll

    Lauradoll Active Member

    Hahaha maneless. I'm a spacker today, yey it's Friday!!! :? You can replace Clint as the Vibmeister then!!!
  18. gazrose

    gazrose Member

    I would say that you would be able to tell if the player's vib is due to nerves or is true vib. Vibrato is what colours the passage you're playing and a musician will apply vibrato to make the passage speak. Not all notes in that passage will need vib (listen to David Dawes play a slow melody). Take for example the first note in resurgam - the first note doesn't need vib but the second note (the first beat in the bar) does to colour it.

    So in a nutshell - a player who has a nervous wobble has no control over their vib whereas a player without nervous wobble can control the amount of vib on any note he/she pleases (assuming that they are using the correct technique and not doing the shake!)

    Way too much waffle there!
  19. gazrose

    gazrose Member

    Having said all that rubbish - sometimes you just can't help the nervous wabble!
  20. asteria

    asteria Member

    waffle + wobble = wabble !

    Sorry, you can tell it’s Friday, my spelling’s gone to pot too and I couldn’t understand why my cursor didn’t move until I realised I had my mobile in my hand… :|