Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

Change position of left hand for vibrato?


Carl
 Share

Recommended Posts

I am between teachers, and need some advice about the proper left hand position. Before learning vibrato, I laid the neck of the violin so that it contacted my thumb on one side and the base of my forefinger at the other side. It was not down in the web, but at about the point where my forefinger met the hand. In trying to learn vibrato, it seems impossible unless I swing my hand a little away from the neck so that the neck rests only on the thumb (at the joint closest to the tip) which leaves a gap between the neck and my forefinger. Is this correct? I find that the violin seems less stable since it contacts my left hand at only one point. Do I switch back and forth depending on whether I am using vibrato or not? This is not too bad for slow passages, but seems awkward for fast ones. Or should I learn to play at all times resting it only on the thumb? Or should I try to do vibrato with the neck still resting on both thumb and finger joint? By the way, I do support the violin with a shoulder rest, but I guess I am resting some of the weight on my left thumb and finger. Any help will be appreciated. (I know, get a new teacher!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am judging from your letter that you use a wrist vibrato. I have heard some exquisite sound from wrist vibratos in which the player seemed to lay the violin neck on the thumb and bring the rest of the left hand over the top, so to speak, almost like a cello left hand. These were women (or girls) with small hands, and this position helped open their hands up to cover the fingerboard. They were very good players.

It is difficult to use a wrist vigrato with the grip you are using, and you may have to derive the basic impulse from your arm instead of your wrist or fingers.

Another possibility is to try raising your left hand a little by dropping the violin neck into the web and gaining the extra length of fingers for vibrato. If you watch, you will see that Perlman seems to do this, it may look a little sloppy up close, with his very large hands, but it gives him a lovely sound and a credible wrist/finger vibrato in the first and second positions.

For higher positions, wrist and finger vibrratos should not be such a problem, since your tight neck grip is no longer used.

I have been holding my instrument at the jaw/shoulder for over 50 years and never depend on the left hand to hold it up (it was "beat" into me as a child). But I understand that with the return to baroque and classical playing style and outfitting - even without chinrests, it is common and acceptable to not hold so tightly. So maybe you are in acceptable (if not good) company. But when I see orchestras in which the players have been forced to remove their chinrests and thus depend on their left hands to hold the fiddle, I see no happy faces, and very few decent vibratos.

Andy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for your thorough response. You did guess right- I do use a wrist vibrato with my hand a little more "over the top" than normal. I have never been able to develop a good arm vibrato - the whole violin shakes too much. Must be doing it wrong. If I continue to use the wrist vibrato supporting the neck only with the thumb, should I switch back to supporting with the base of the finger also whenever I am playing non-vibrato passages? And then have to keep switching back and forth? Or should I learn to always play using only the thumb so no shifting of the hand is necessary? I guess it would be preferrable to do as you suggested and either develop an arm vibrato or change to a "deeper" hold for my wrist vibrato.

: I am judging from your letter that you use a wrist vibrato. I have heard some exquisite sound from wrist vibratos in which the player seemed to lay the violin neck on the thumb and bring the rest of the left hand over the top, so to speak, almost like a cello left hand. These were women (or girls) with small hands, and this position helped open their hands up to cover the fingerboard. They were very good players.

: It is difficult to use a wrist vigrato with the grip you are using, and you may have to derive the basic impulse from your arm instead of your wrist or fingers.

: Another possibility is to try raising your left hand a little by dropping the violin neck into the web and gaining the extra length of fingers for vibrato. If you watch, you will see that Perlman seems to do this, it may look a little sloppy up close, with his very large hands, but it gives him a lovely sound and a credible wrist/finger vibrato in the first and second positions.

: For higher positions, wrist and finger vibrratos should not be such a problem, since your tight neck grip is no longer used.

: I have been holding my instrument at the jaw/shoulder for over 50 years and never depend on the left hand to hold it up (it was "beat" into me as a child). But I understand that with the return to baroque and classical playing style and outfitting - even without chinrests, it is common and acceptable to not hold so tightly. So maybe you are in acceptable (if not good) company. But when I see orchestras in which the players have been forced to remove their chinrests and thus depend on their left hands to hold the fiddle, I see no happy faces, and very few decent vibratos.

: Andy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Personally, I think you need to be able to hold the violin with your chin (jaw and shoulder) to do a wrist vibrato in the 1st and 2nd positions. As far as keeping that same extended position for both vibrato and "unshaky" playing, it seems disjointed to me, and were certainly limit your vibrato to only the longer notes.

One other possibility is to try to develop a vibrator that derives more from your fingers, with less involvment of the wrist. You will notice some orchestra players use this approach to make a long concert less taxing (or perhaps they are as lazy as I sometimes am). This type of vibrato works quite well in the higher positions, but there the thumb is ideally placed to counterbalance it.

I am also concerned that the position in which you can vibrato successfully might put too much strain on your hand and arm, especially if used all the time, and cause physical damage to you. This alone is a good reason to get a teacher to observe you and help. Not all teachers will let you develop a vibrato style, so you want a fairly "liberal" teacher - I don't know how you would look for one.

I would suggest you get a chinrest that enables you hold the instrument securely and give you more options on how you vibrato and as you said, get a teacher who can assist you in real time, by actually seeing what is going on.

Andy

: Thank you for your thorough response. You did guess right- I do use a wrist vibrato with my hand a little more "over the top" than normal. I have never been able to develop a good arm vibrato - the whole violin shakes too much. Must be doing it wrong. If I continue to use the wrist vibrato supporting the neck only with the thumb, should I switch back to supporting with the base of the finger also whenever I am playing non-vibrato passages? And then have to keep switching back and forth? Or should I learn to always play using only the thumb so no shifting of the hand is necessary? I guess it would be preferrable to do as you suggested and either develop an arm vibrato or change to a "deeper" hold for my wrist vibrato.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Carl..I have a friend who has the greatest vibrato..he is in his 70's and I asked him for vibrato lessons. I have the same grip as you have. He put his fingers between my fore finger and neck of the violin and said that there has to be a space..no touching. He says that the fingers should form an arch and the neck is lightly resting on only the thumb. It seems un-natural to me..but then again, so does vibrato. He plays with what i guess is arm vibrato. george b.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seems to me that if you can't vibrato in the position of your left hand, then your neck-hold is not very good or efficient. You should be able to easily and freely vibrato whenever needed, even in places that are not considered slow or lush. Just occasionally when musical instinct calls for certain notes to sing out etc... It's best not to experiment too much, you could end up with bad habits. Wait until you get a teacher, then have him or her help with your neck-hold.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear Andrew,

I was at an early music workskop in San Rafeal

two weeks ago. The violin teacher was

trying and trying to get my to rest the violin

against my chest and hold it with my left

arm.

Although it sounded good when he did it,

I just could not get used to that position!

I felt like my hand could not go anywhere,

I could not play in tune or fast, and the violin

kept slipping off and falling.

Maye I was not open enough, but I sure like

the feeling of having a free arm and hand!

The bowing was ok - he said for that kind of music

it is better for the bowing to play like that -you get a more authentic sound.

Well, maybe I will try more next year! Were you ever

at such a workshop?

Melinda

: I am judging from your letter that you use a wrist vibrato. I have heard some exquisite sound from wrist vibratos in which the player seemed to lay the violin neck on the thumb and bring the rest of the left hand over the top, so to speak, almost like a cello left hand. These were women (or girls) with small hands, and this position helped open their hands up to cover the fingerboard. They were very good players.

: It is difficult to use a wrist vigrato with the grip you are using, and you may have to derive the basic impulse from your arm instead of your wrist or fingers.

: Another possibility is to try raising your left hand a little by dropping the violin neck into the web and gaining the extra length of fingers for vibrato. If you watch, you will see that Perlman seems to do this, it may look a little sloppy up close, with his very large hands, but it gives him a lovely sound and a credible wrist/finger vibrato in the first and second positions.

: For higher positions, wrist and finger vibrratos should not be such a problem, since your tight neck grip is no longer used.

: I have been holding my instrument at the jaw/shoulder for over 50 years and never depend on the left hand to hold it up (it was "beat" into me as a child). But I understand that with the return to baroque and classical playing style and outfitting - even without chinrests, it is common and acceptable to not hold so tightly. So maybe you are in acceptable (if not good) company. But when I see orchestras in which the players have been forced to remove their chinrests and thus depend on their left hands to hold the fiddle, I see no happy faces, and very few decent vibratos.

: Andy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...