Vibrato or not?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Trigger, Mar 13, 2004.

  1. Trigger

    Trigger Member

    What do people think about the use of vibrato? I mean, I personally prefer a little vibrato, because it gives the tone a certain quality. But I was discussing this with my music teacher the other day and he doesn't really like it and said that I should play the note straight. I can do it both ways, but I prefer vibrato - not a great wide wah wah wha to the note but just a slight oscillation.

    So I just wondered what others think about vibrato? And what are the best ways of producing a vibrato?
  2. IcklePablo

    IcklePablo Member

    i used to put vibrato on every single note possible. But since my recent promotion to championship section, i find it depends on the style of music. Alot of music is played straight, some with a really big vibrato and some with just alittle. I just go with the flow and it always seems to work for the best.
  3. tim

    tim Member

    it definetly depends on the style of the piece... If its a hymn i generally use quite a lot of vibrato but in a fast virtuosic piece theres no time to add vibrato and can just sound odd any any longer notes. You've just got to make sure you fit into the ensemble and don't do anything that will stick out.

    On the other hand though using vibrato does help to mask any intonation problems!
  4. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    It's OK in moderation and on the right piece. I generally play with a little bit because I think Flugels can sound a bit "flat" without it (tone wise not flat in pitch). But some pieces are definitely non-vib zones. You don't want to play the first movement of "Year of the Dragon" with a load of vibrato!!
  5. IcklePablo

    IcklePablo Member

    i agree. As my wise cornet teacher (linda Nicolson) keeps reminding me, "you've got to BLEND your sound together."
  6. Dave Euph

    Dave Euph Member

    I've mostly played straight because I've never had a lot of confidence in my "control" of vibrato (ie. I always use too much!) ... but in the right places/pieces it can add wonders to the sound.
  7. Vickitorious

    Vickitorious Active Member

    Natural vibrato sounds nice, but sometimes it can be a little overdone, but it still does depend on the piece....
  8. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    It's my belief that the normal mode of playing includes vibrato, so every note of enough length should be played with slight vibrato, unless the music says otherwise (senza vibrato, and yes, I have seen it in brass band scores :) ). Watch the violins in a symphony orchestra wiggle their left hands on the strings, listen to any good vocalist, etc. Vibrato livens the sound and makes it sound more natural, and also eases tuning (the vibrato widens the envelope of the sound and softens intonation issues). The width of the vibrato depends on the style being played, of course.

    However, I have heard of opinions to the contrary. My father has a recording in his collection where Vaughn Williams, writing liner notes to one of his own items that included a flugel solo, states that "the flugel is returned from exile in the brass band, where it has been allowed to engage in the bad habit of vibrato." (quote not exact)
  9. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    No, no, no! Using it like this means that the note is vibratoed and out of tune!

    All things in moderation - vibrato has its place, and, for me, this is generally not as part of a full band chord, say. Others, including a lot of people much better thought of than myself, disagree vehemently. Last time this came up on here, Phil Green of Fodens gave his case for the defence of continuous vibrato:

  10. Trigger

    Trigger Member

    Thanks everyone, i pretty much agree with what everyone says, that vibrato is good in moderation and in the correct place. :)
  11. Jethro Vindabona

    Jethro Vindabona New Member

    Just my personal hillbilly opinion, coming from very limited experience...

    I like vibrato on solo (one-player) passages (unless the music/mood indicates otherwise)...and sometimes in the soprano when a little icing is desired on top of the chord.

    But in unisons I think it's easier to blend without it. If our cornet section had more time together each week (more than just one rehearsal) we might eventually be able to work up a more uniform vibrato with reasonable blend and intonation...but for now I think we sound most homogenous in the tutti sections with a straight tone.
  12. Mike Saville

    Mike Saville Member

    Learn to play stright notes first!

    Vibrato is another area of technique which needs to be learnt and practiced. It comes in several forms and mastering your own instrument means that you should be able to turn it off/on or vary the speed as dictated by the style/music/ensemble that you are in.

    I would strongly disagree with anyone that says playing with vibrato is the norm :evil:
  13. MRSH

    MRSH Supporting Member

    Oh how right you are. Vibrato is the scourge of brass players.

    Hey, I'm a percussionist so it doesn't plague me - but please learn to turn it on don't struggle to turn it off.
  14. Trigger

    Trigger Member

    Yep, I completely agree with you. Luckily I am at the stage where I am developing my vibrato but can still play it straight if I need to. I never used to play with vibrato at all.

    The other question is, how do other people produce their vibrato. I mean, I think mine comes from a slight lower jaw movement (i.e. I move my chin). Apparently that's not the best way though.
  15. amgray

    amgray Member

    Mike is right. Too many players disguise poor sound and intonation throught the use of a permanent wobble.

    IMHO, be able to play straight and in tune first.
  16. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Absolutely. I was taught to play with a good tone first. Vib. is the icing on the cake. I was quite suprised at the Areas this year how many players had poor tones and were trying to disguise that with lots of vib!
  17. sudcornet

    sudcornet Member

    What he said....apart from the last bit....o'course it's the norm...the majority of music brass bands play requires vibrato....controlling it is the key......You have to create the sound you deem suitable for the particular piece. If the man in the middle ("or woman!".." Yes Reg, ...or woman.") want otherwise they'll soon tell you. To my aging ears a general, barely perceivable vibrato warms the sound. You should be able to vary the amount (speed, more than depth....but not over the top!) to what your ears and the boss in the middle require to suit the best performance.

    So, for me, control of your vibrato, and recognition of the style required to suit the piece (and the boss)....determine the amount (or lack) of vibrato.

    My two pennorth...for what it's worth.


    PS. If this reiterates too much of what's already been said...then it's because I've had a beer and I'm about to go to bed...and Tan's at her Gran's....and I've got to be up dead early to go to "MALAGA FOR WEEK" .....ish. Ne'mind eh!
  18. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    I tend to use vibrato on my tenor to soften the sound either if I'm playing with the principal cornet expressivo or with the bari's and euphs (and of course if I play a solo and it needs it) my vib isn't much good however! I find that playing straight gives me access to a lot more projection and I can use this to play more fanfare style pieces.

    On my bass however I do find a bit a of vib does help 'centre' some of the lower notes.

    I suppose the trom is a bit different to other instruments in the band though...
  19. jambo

    jambo Member


    i agree. As my wise cornet teacher (linda Nicolson) keeps reminding me, "you've got to BLEND your sound together."[/quote]

    Can't argue with Linda shes top class.

    ...but, only use vib when its required. You have to be able to turn it on and off dependant on the music and also be able to use different styles of vib.
  20. Mike Saville

    Mike Saville Member

    Not sure about using vib on the bass trom to center notes . . . . :?

    However you are correct in that your sound needs to change for certain requirements. Take Coventry Vars for example. I have several moments where 1st trom needs to blend with solo cornet so I add some vib (& adjust my tuning!) accordingly. Much of the rest of the piece however requires a stright tone and a more 'orchestral' approach.

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