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Re: vibrato - a developmental perspective

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  • Carter OBrien
    Vibrato strikes me as something that is thousand of years old and likely developed in every culture around the globe, it s a completely natural instinct to add
    Message 1 of 8 , Jun 2 11:52 AM
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      Vibrato strikes me as something that is thousand of years old and
      likely developed in every culture around the globe, it's a completely
      natural instinct to add passion into music!

      Carter

      --- In gypsyjazzguitar@yahoogroups.com, "peter_anick"
      <Peter.Anick@a...> wrote:
      > Interesting idea. Another possibility is that it came into classical
      > music via the popularity of Gypsy violinists in the 19th century.
      > Django, having started out as a violinist himself, would naturally
      > have put vibrato onto the guitar. Gypsy violin music employs a range
      > of vibratos, although typically to intensify important notes.
      > Perhaps it is only the constant vibrato currently applied within
      > classical violin that is the phonograph-based development.
      >
      > A third possibility is that it followed the development of vocal
      > vibrato. Does anyone know when that came into fashion?
      >
      > - Peter
      >
      >
      > --- In gypsyjazzguitar@yahoogroups.com, "David Stevenson"
      > <stevensonology@y...> wrote:
      > > I came across this piece in the book review section the New Yorker.
      > I
      > > thought it interesting apropos the importance of vibrato in Django
      > > and Stephane's playing:
      > >
      > > Like Heisenberg's mythical observer, the phonograph was never a
      > mere
      > > recorder of events: it changed how people sang and played. Katz, in
      > a
      > > major contribution to the lingo, calls these changes "phonograph
      > > effects." (The phrase comes from the digital studio, where it is
      > used
      > > to describe the crackling, scratching noises that are sometimes
      > added
      > > to pop-music tracks to lend them an appealingly antique air.) Katz
      > > devotes one striking chapter to a fundamental change in violin
      > > technique that took place in the early twentieth century. It
      > involved
      > > vibrato—that trembling action of the hand on the fingerboard,
      > whereby
      > > the player is able to give notes a warbling sweetness. Until about
      > > 1920, vibrato was applied quite sparingly. On a 1903 recording, the
      > > great violinist Joseph Joachim uses it only to accentuate certain
      > > highly expressive notes. (The track is included on a CD that comes
      > > with Katz's book.) Around the same time, Fritz Kreisler began
      > > applying vibrato almost constantly. By the nineteen-twenties, most
      > > leading violinists had adopted Kreisler's method. Was it because
      > they
      > > were imitating him? Katz proposes that the change came about for a
      > > more pedestrian reason. When a wobble was added to violin tone, the
      > > phonograph was able to pick it up more easily: it's a "wider" sound
      > > in acoustical terms, a blob of several superimposed frequencies.
      > > Also, the fuzzy focus of vibrato enabled players to cover up slight
      > > inaccuracies of intonation, and, from the start, the phonograph
      > made
      > > players self-conscious about intonation in ways they had never been
      > > before. What worked in the studio then spread to the concert stage.
    • Michael Arciero
      ... This is the natural to ask. My thoughts on the other proposed reasons in what sounds like a very interesting article: It s true that vibrato can cover up
      Message 2 of 8 , Jun 2 1:42 PM
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        --- In gypsyjazzguitar@yahoogroups.com, "peter_anick"
        <Peter.Anick@a...> wrote:
        >
        > A third possibility is that it followed the development of vocal
        > vibrato. Does anyone know when that came into fashion?
        >
        > - Peter
        >

        This is the natural to ask.

        My thoughts on the other proposed reasons in what sounds like a very
        interesting article:

        It's true that vibrato can cover up intonation inaccuracies, but as
        difficult as the violin is to play with correct intonation, very good
        players don't seem to have a problem.

        I am also skeptical of the notion that the phonograph was able to
        capture the violin better with vibrato than without. It's true that
        the spectrum is broader with vibrato, but offhand I don't see any
        physical reason that this would record better. I
        Furthermore, good vibrato technique is something that a player
        develops over time, not a trick that would be whipped out in the studio.

        Mike A




        >
        > --- In gypsyjazzguitar@yahoogroups.com, "David Stevenson"
        > <stevensonology@y...> wrote:
        > > I came across this piece in the book review section the New Yorker.
        > I
        > > thought it interesting apropos the importance of vibrato in Django
        > > and Stephane's playing:
        > >
        > > Like Heisenberg's mythical observer, the phonograph was never a
        > mere
        > > recorder of events: it changed how people sang and played. Katz, in
        > a
        > > major contribution to the lingo, calls these changes "phonograph
        > > effects." (The phrase comes from the digital studio, where it is
        > used
        > > to describe the crackling, scratching noises that are sometimes
        > added
        > > to pop-music tracks to lend them an appealingly antique air.) Katz
        > > devotes one striking chapter to a fundamental change in violin
        > > technique that took place in the early twentieth century. It
        > involved
        > > vibrato—that trembling action of the hand on the fingerboard,
        > whereby
        > > the player is able to give notes a warbling sweetness. Until about
        > > 1920, vibrato was applied quite sparingly. On a 1903 recording, the
        > > great violinist Joseph Joachim uses it only to accentuate certain
        > > highly expressive notes. (The track is included on a CD that comes
        > > with Katz's book.) Around the same time, Fritz Kreisler began
        > > applying vibrato almost constantly. By the nineteen-twenties, most
        > > leading violinists had adopted Kreisler's method. Was it because
        > they
        > > were imitating him? Katz proposes that the change came about for a
        > > more pedestrian reason. When a wobble was added to violin tone, the
        > > phonograph was able to pick it up more easily: it's a "wider" sound
        > > in acoustical terms, a blob of several superimposed frequencies.
        > > Also, the fuzzy focus of vibrato enabled players to cover up slight
        > > inaccuracies of intonation, and, from the start, the phonograph
        > made
        > > players self-conscious about intonation in ways they had never been
        > > before. What worked in the studio then spread to the concert stage.
      • Jon Thor Williams
        i think the first guy that used it was Tarzan... it developed from there and Tarzan was one of Djangos influences... obviously! ... completely ... classical
        Message 3 of 8 , Jun 3 9:09 AM
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          i think the first guy that used it was Tarzan... it developed from
          there and Tarzan was one of Djangos influences... obviously!


          --- In gypsyjazzguitar@yahoogroups.com, "Carter OBrien"
          <carterobrien@y...> wrote:
          > Vibrato strikes me as something that is thousand of years old and
          > likely developed in every culture around the globe, it's a
          completely
          > natural instinct to add passion into music!
          >
          > Carter
          >
          > --- In gypsyjazzguitar@yahoogroups.com, "peter_anick"
          > <Peter.Anick@a...> wrote:
          > > Interesting idea. Another possibility is that it came into
          classical
          > > music via the popularity of Gypsy violinists in the 19th
          century.
          > > Django, having started out as a violinist himself, would
          naturally
          > > have put vibrato onto the guitar. Gypsy violin music employs a
          range
          > > of vibratos, although typically to intensify important notes.
          > > Perhaps it is only the constant vibrato currently applied within
          > > classical violin that is the phonograph-based development.
          > >
          > > A third possibility is that it followed the development of vocal
          > > vibrato. Does anyone know when that came into fashion?
          > >
          > > - Peter
          > >
          > >
          > > --- In gypsyjazzguitar@yahoogroups.com, "David Stevenson"
          > > <stevensonology@y...> wrote:
          > > > I came across this piece in the book review section the New
          Yorker.
          > > I
          > > > thought it interesting apropos the importance of vibrato in
          Django
          > > > and Stephane's playing:
          > > >
          > > > Like Heisenberg's mythical observer, the phonograph was never a
          > > mere
          > > > recorder of events: it changed how people sang and played.
          Katz, in
          > > a
          > > > major contribution to the lingo, calls these
          changes "phonograph
          > > > effects." (The phrase comes from the digital studio, where it
          is
          > > used
          > > > to describe the crackling, scratching noises that are sometimes
          > > added
          > > > to pop-music tracks to lend them an appealingly antique air.)
          Katz
          > > > devotes one striking chapter to a fundamental change in violin
          > > > technique that took place in the early twentieth century. It
          > > involved
          > > > vibrato—that trembling action of the hand on the fingerboard,
          > > whereby
          > > > the player is able to give notes a warbling sweetness. Until
          about
          > > > 1920, vibrato was applied quite sparingly. On a 1903 recording,
          the
          > > > great violinist Joseph Joachim uses it only to accentuate
          certain
          > > > highly expressive notes. (The track is included on a CD that
          comes
          > > > with Katz's book.) Around the same time, Fritz Kreisler began
          > > > applying vibrato almost constantly. By the nineteen-twenties,
          most
          > > > leading violinists had adopted Kreisler's method. Was it
          because
          > > they
          > > > were imitating him? Katz proposes that the change came about
          for a
          > > > more pedestrian reason. When a wobble was added to violin tone,
          the
          > > > phonograph was able to pick it up more easily: it's a "wider"
          sound
          > > > in acoustical terms, a blob of several superimposed
          frequencies.
          > > > Also, the fuzzy focus of vibrato enabled players to cover up
          slight
          > > > inaccuracies of intonation, and, from the start, the phonograph
          > > made
          > > > players self-conscious about intonation in ways they had never
          been
          > > > before. What worked in the studio then spread to the concert
          stage.
        • d0rad02004
          Reminds me of a concert my ex-wife dragged me to many years ago; Emma Kirkby & the academy of ancient music performed some catchy tunes from the dark ages.
          Message 4 of 8 , Jun 3 3:32 PM
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            Reminds me of a concert my ex-wife dragged me to many years ago;
            Emma Kirkby & the academy of ancient music performed some catchy
            tunes from the dark ages. Neither she nor any of the musicians
            employed any vibrato whatsoever. Kinda strange at first, the music
            grew on me as the concert progressed, however, I can state
            unequivocally that the sackbut is an acquired taste.

            --- In gypsyjazzguitar@yahoogroups.com, "David Stevenson"
            <stevensonology@y...> wrote:
            > I came across this piece in the book review section the New Yorker.
            I
            > thought it interesting apropos the importance of vibrato in Django
            > and Stephane's playing:
            >
            > Like Heisenberg's mythical observer, the phonograph was never a
            mere
            > recorder of events: it changed how people sang and played. Katz, in
            a
            > major contribution to the lingo, calls these changes "phonograph
            > effects." (The phrase comes from the digital studio, where it is
            used
            > to describe the crackling, scratching noises that are sometimes
            added
            > to pop-music tracks to lend them an appealingly antique air.) Katz
            > devotes one striking chapter to a fundamental change in violin
            > technique that took place in the early twentieth century. It
            involved
            > vibrato—that trembling action of the hand on the fingerboard,
            whereby
            > the player is able to give notes a warbling sweetness. Until about
            > 1920, vibrato was applied quite sparingly. On a 1903 recording, the
            > great violinist Joseph Joachim uses it only to accentuate certain
            > highly expressive notes. (The track is included on a CD that comes
            > with Katz's book.) Around the same time, Fritz Kreisler began
            > applying vibrato almost constantly. By the nineteen-twenties, most
            > leading violinists had adopted Kreisler's method. Was it because
            they
            > were imitating him? Katz proposes that the change came about for a
            > more pedestrian reason. When a wobble was added to violin tone, the
            > phonograph was able to pick it up more easily: it's a "wider" sound
            > in acoustical terms, a blob of several superimposed frequencies.
            > Also, the fuzzy focus of vibrato enabled players to cover up slight
            > inaccuracies of intonation, and, from the start, the phonograph
            made
            > players self-conscious about intonation in ways they had never been
            > before. What worked in the studio then spread to the concert stage.
          • David Stevenson
            ... whatsoever. Kinda strange at first, the music grew on me as the concert progressed... Yep, Emma s voice is one of a kind. The early music movement of
            Message 5 of 8 , Jun 3 5:11 PM
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              --- In gypsyjazzguitar@yahoogroups.com, "d0rad02004" <artRVH@h...>
              wrote:
              > Neither she nor any of the musicians employed any vibrato
              whatsoever. Kinda strange at first, the music grew on me as the
              concert progressed...

              Yep, Emma's voice is one of a kind. The early music movement of
              recent decades (owing much to Christopher Hoagwood, Kirkby, Tallis
              Scholars, etc) has done much to recapture early music authentically
              as possible. That, of course, means sans vibrato. It is interesting
              to compare Tallis Scholars recordings of, say, a Palestrina mass with
              renditions that preceded the early music movement - like those from
              the 50's or 60's. Years ago, Time/Life records released a sort
              of "history of music" album(s) in which all the early music
              represented did indeed have the vibrato effect in full squeal -
              standard for the time (the 1960's, that is, not 1560's of course). In
              In retrospect, now that we are so familiar with authentic early music
              interpretations, the vibrato sounds unlistenable, even comical. I
              guess you could say, they were doing the best the could in simply
              applying standard modern (classical-style) singing to early pieces.
              Which might have worked well for a Verdi choral piece but definitely
              not a Palestrina or Tallis.
              Another corolary to this: the music of Gesualdo and Tallis - and
              virtually all composers of the early era - were working under
              different harmonic dictates - very compex, yes, but also very distant
              from the harmony used by classical era composers. It was, then, the
              19th century practitioners who sought to lessen the "harshness" of
              the early harmonies, making them more palatable for modern audiences,
              but truly tampering with the original intention and the beautiful
              auterity of those early pieces. Interesting, in some Tallis pieces,
              both the major and minor 3rd is sometimes voiced in the same chord -
              and other similar "harsh" sounds abound. So, the early music movement
              has been concerned both with compositional authenticity as well as
              performance. Sorry, this post is not related to GJ. - David
            • d0rad02004
              Great post, David. Quite relevant, as far as I m concerned. This type of discussion always interests me, as we guitar players can oftimes be an inarticulate
              Message 6 of 8 , Jun 6 9:42 AM
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                Great post, David. Quite relevant, as far as I'm concerned. This type
                of discussion always interests me, as we guitar players can oftimes
                be an inarticulate bunch...

                --- In gypsyjazzguitar@yahoogroups.com, "David Stevenson"
                <stevensonology@y...> wrote:
                > --- In gypsyjazzguitar@yahoogroups.com, "d0rad02004" <artRVH@h...>
                > wrote:
                > > Neither she nor any of the musicians employed any vibrato
                > whatsoever. Kinda strange at first, the music grew on me as the
                > concert progressed...
                >
                > Yep, Emma's voice is one of a kind. The early music movement of
                > recent decades (owing much to Christopher Hoagwood, Kirkby, Tallis
                > Scholars, etc) has done much to recapture early music authentically
                > as possible. That, of course, means sans vibrato. It is interesting
                > to compare Tallis Scholars recordings of, say, a Palestrina mass
                with
                > renditions that preceded the early music movement - like those from
                > the 50's or 60's. Years ago, Time/Life records released a sort
                > of "history of music" album(s) in which all the early music
                > represented did indeed have the vibrato effect in full squeal -
                > standard for the time (the 1960's, that is, not 1560's of course).
                In
                > In retrospect, now that we are so familiar with authentic early
                music
                > interpretations, the vibrato sounds unlistenable, even comical. I
                > guess you could say, they were doing the best the could in simply
                > applying standard modern (classical-style) singing to early pieces.
                > Which might have worked well for a Verdi choral piece but
                definitely
                > not a Palestrina or Tallis.
                > Another corolary to this: the music of Gesualdo and Tallis - and
                > virtually all composers of the early era - were working under
                > different harmonic dictates - very compex, yes, but also very
                distant
                > from the harmony used by classical era composers. It was, then, the
                > 19th century practitioners who sought to lessen the "harshness" of
                > the early harmonies, making them more palatable for modern
                audiences,
                > but truly tampering with the original intention and the beautiful
                > auterity of those early pieces. Interesting, in some Tallis pieces,
                > both the major and minor 3rd is sometimes voiced in the same chord -

                > and other similar "harsh" sounds abound. So, the early music
                movement
                > has been concerned both with compositional authenticity as well as
                > performance. Sorry, this post is not related to GJ. - David
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