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Elke Meier
This discussion includes members-only video content

Hi you all,

today I decided to record my practice because I wanted to see what the unrelenting eye of the camera would say as compared to what I feel I am doing. Well, and now I am not sure of what I see... So here it is for your discriminating eyes :)

Actually, my main reason for recording was that I wanted to see whether my wrist is starting to be a little more floppy than before. I cannot do plain wrist vibrato - I am in real pain after a very short time of practice (like 2min). So I have been practicing arm vibrato but a while ago Beth told me to try and have a "floppy" wrist while I do the arm vibrato, so that the movement wouldn't entirely have to come from the big arm muscles and I would be able to have a bigger range.

So here are two short excerpts: The beginning is from the last exercise at 120%. I cannot get through that one faster than that. The second half is from the shorter exercise with the 5 pulses, and this one is at 150%. 

Here are some questions/observations:
  • I am not sure whether I see the "floppy" wrist. Do you?
  • The movement seems to be much narrower in the 150% section. Is this normal? Sure, in Beth's video it does not change, because we just make the video run faster :). But in real life, should I have the same amplitude in 150% as in the slower versions?
  • Biggest revelation: I miss a lot of pings/flings! I feel like I did 5 every time, but when I look at it I see quite a few beats where I had only 4 and introduced a longer break... I guess that means that I should go back and do it slower again until I don't miss pings any more. 
Any other thoughts/observations from you?
Elke Meier
16 Responses
Posted: August 9, 2018
Last Comment: August 11, 2018
Replies

Maria
Posted: August 11, 2018

Elke,

Finally, I can comment...I just finished watching the rest of your video and it looks excellent to my eyes. 

 Now, try adding the bow downward and upward to get used to it, but if you'll try it on real song/piece then it will def. help with the flow and regularity of the vibrato.

Looking forward to your next posting on this...

Jaime - Orlando , Fl
Posted: August 11, 2018
You are welcome Nicolinette!
Elke has inspired me to explore more actively the technique of vibrato. It is quite a challenge, since it requires to be precise, solid, like a motor running, yet loose with flexibility... that's what will make it flawless!
 
Whichever approach (arm/wrist/finger or combination) once mastered, I think would be very rewarding! So we'll keep the quest alive! :0)

Elke Meier
Posted: August 11, 2018
Haha, Susan, if I sit down playing the violin, THEN I get tense! I just hate having to sit down for playing. I was thinking about propping the laptop up. This is a real disadvantage of Soundslice. As much as I like it that you can follow along, but the angle for looking is just not very natural. The hand at the violin is just so I don't have to hold it all this time with the chin. - Oh, I am just thinking: I will try out having the laptop up higher and see whether that will even have an impact on how tired the neck gets. I am just not used at all to play looking down.  

Susan Hollister
Posted: August 11, 2018
Hi Elke!

I also appreciate your working with this till you get it! To me it looked even, though a bit tense - I wondered if, because you were looking down, probably at the computer so see the videos, if that affect your tenseness? Is that why you had to hold the violin with the left hand? Could you post a video sitting down? 

Nicolinette
Posted: August 11, 2018
mirror on mirror
''As an inspiration and guide I am carefully studying Anne Akiko’s   “mirror on mirror “ performance in you tube! I think it BEAUTIFULLY depicts an active wrist vibrato in all its glory! At times I hold my violin while watching... in a mirror and try to copy EXACTLY her vibrato speed... as if I was playing each long vibrato note! Hehe''

Oh thank you Jaime for the link :)


j'aime ;)


Jaime - Orlando , Fl
Posted: August 10, 2018
Thy is awesome Elke!
The fact that you have found a vibrato style that suits you and you are able to work with is fantastic! Wethere is arm , or wrist ... hybrid or even finger vibrato.. they are all equally beautiful and perfect once they are dominated!  I’ve heard for “convenience purposes”, those who have mastered more than one approach may mix and match in between— depending on how comfortable they feel at any given passage in a song. So once more I congratulate you in your vibrato choice and as I see already is flourishing beautifully!

I do remember the time we “pulsed” to music doing our exercises! Fun indeed! That’s why I like Beth’s new tutorials ! ;0)

As an inspiration and guide I am carefully studying Anne Akiko’s   “mirror on mirror “ performance in you tube! I think it BEAUTIFULLY depicts an active wrist vibrato in all its glory! At times I hold my violin while watching... in a mirror and try to copy EXACTLY her vibrato speed... as if I was playing each long vibrato note! Hehe

Immediately BIG difference. Her arm is FROZEN, while her wrist does this amazing solid relaxed vibrato. I am concentrating in ISOLATING the wrist from arm and RELAX the fingers . I tend to shake some of the arm still, especially if I triy to speed up. So like you, I am still in my quest to dominate that beast! Hehe

Keep it up! Your doing wonderful! :0)

Elke Meier
Posted: August 10, 2018
A few notes :)

Beth: I am glad that I seem to be away from the frantic quiet wrist :). And it is nice if you are encouraged. Maybe there is hope this time...

Ray and Barb: The loose thumb is a result of the LOTS of arm vibrato practice. The violin shook very violently until I got to the point where the thumb joint got loose. I think the base joint of the thumb is the crux for an unstable violin during vibrato. If the thumb gives then the violin does not get into shaking.

Jaime: The exercises you do are similar to Laurie Scott's ones. Just she does not go directly to double speed but works with syllables. I did her  exercises a LOT and found them very helpful. 

Barbara, Jaime, and Dianne - about arm vibrato: When I first started vibrato exercises maybe three years ago, I started with wrist vibrato - and was stuck within a very short time. My wrist got so painful. Remember the vibrato practice video you posted at some point, Jaime? You had taken some fun music and practiced to the music. That was such a clever idea (kind of similar to what we do now, just now it is more controlled). You did those exercises 10min straight! I was very happy if I could manage to practice along with you for 2-3 min. Then my wrist was so painful that it just did not make sense to continue. I was convinced that it just needed more stamina and with time the pain would go away. But after some months of diligent practice and a still very painful and weak wrist I decided that this wouldn't work.

So I tried the arm vibrato exercises. It felt awful and strange in the beginning, completely unnatural and I had to force myself to continue. But at least I did not develop wrist pain with those exercises. I went through all of it again, sliding, then slowly adding pressure, etc, and even managed a few vibrato like wobbles in some pieces. But it was NOTHING like a motor yet. Because I was so afraid of the wrist pain to return I made sure that there was this straight line and the wrist was completely immobile. 

Then, in the last answer video Beth gave to my many attempts at learning vibrato, she mentioned that I should try to get away from keeping the wrist so stiff to be able to get a more versatile (hybrid) vibrato. Which means a vibrato that would not only depend on the big arm muscles to move. Big muscles need more energy to be moved than small muscles. The movement would still initiate from the arm, but the wrist kind of takes the movement up and "magnifies" it (it is in this community thread where you find her answer). It is kind of like when you shake your arm: The arm does a small shake but the hand makes this big wobble. This is different from what Beth talks about in one video (can't remember which one it was). There she warned of wrist and arm undoing each other's effort with their movements. In this case, if the wrist is just loose, it does not do much actively. And so far my wrist has supported this effort and has not started to develop pain again. I am very happy about that! 

With arm vibrato you cannot "lean" against the shoulder of the violin for the exercise. At least for me it is a very awkward feeling when the arm bumps agains the side of the violin. It does not feel helpful or supportive at all, rather it is inhibiting the movement. So I had to be a bit further toward the scroll anyway. And I can't imagine that it would be any more helpful to bump against a noodle as it is to bump against the side of the violin. That is why I will skip this part of the vibrato practice. What I can't imagine yet is how vibrato then would work in higher positions. But since I don't normally play in sixth position I decided to cross that bridge when I get to it - haha, not that there would be anything to cross right now. I still can't do vibrato in lower positions... Well, as you can see, even after three years of many many trials I have not really given up hope that even I will learn vibrato at some point... 

Ray
Posted: August 10, 2018
You are developing a nice even vibrato, Elke.  Also, your thumb appears to havve no or little tension.  Fantastic.

Fabiano Formiga de Carvalho
Posted: August 10, 2018
Here we are in the metaphysic of the violin.

Dianne
Posted: August 10, 2018
Hi Elke, I do see looseness in your wrist!

Just curious, had you tried this in the higher position or had you tried this with the noodle? Did you get the same results?

Beth Blackerby
Posted: August 9, 2018
Elke, yes, I do see some flop in your wrist! That's great. You don't have a board stiff arm vibrato at all. And the speed/amplitude relationship is quite good. Don't try and get it faster. Just keep this up until it gets easier. I'm very encouraged!

Jaime, pretty darn good. When you get to the fastest subdivision, I see a little tension in the fingers. Make the motion smaller when you get faster and that will help keep the hand relaxed. 

Barb Wimmer
Posted: August 9, 2018
Really good Elke, not floppy that I see. It looks smooth and not stiff and the fact that you don't wobble the violin when you vibrato is great. 

Jaime - Orlando , Fl
Posted: August 9, 2018
This discussion includes members-only video content

Hi Elke!
Great arm vibrato motion! I was wondering if perhaps a slower tempo, with wider fluctuation may allow us to see a little more of your vibrato dynamics and more of the arm motion as a whole.

 I am leaning more to the wrist vibrato. Practicing at a lower pace allows me to focus on the stability of my wrist, ensuring no "wabbling", bringing the wrist forward, instead of using it as a  pivot for my vibrato. I start at 60 bpm, then "eight" the beats, then "sixteenth" the beats, focusing on the wrist , the dynamics of the hand and fingers, keeping that "boomerang" dynamics on the motion. Still a long way to go...but fun and challenging! :0)

Elke Meier
Posted: August 9, 2018
Barbara, the violin does not wobble while I practice, nor am I afraid that it drops. I often practice without the support of the left hand. But I noticed that after about 10 minutes of practice I start to hold on tighter with the chin rest. So to prevent extra stress on the neck I started to support it with the left hand during part of those exercises. 

Barbara Habel
Posted: August 9, 2018
P.S.

How badly does the violin wabble / shake when you do not support / hold it with your right hand?

Would it drop down?

Can you do a slow vibrato cycle without having to support your violin?

Are you jumping a few steps in the vibrato learning routine by practicing so fast vibrato cycles?

Barbara Habel
Posted: August 9, 2018
Dear Elke

I have recently responded to Shaheen´s post on vibrato:

http://violinlab.com/Community/details.php?id=11717

Watch the 2 videos I postet there on arm vibrato. Especially on the 2nd video, the one from Todd Ehle, you see within minutes that his arm and the back of the hand / wrist forms a straight line. - Yours does not.

In your video your wrist is bend as if you where to do wrist vibrato. But the movement comes mostly from the arm. There is no wabbling at the wrist - which is good. But this makes it an arm vibrato.

So you are practicing a hybrid version of vibrato. I have not seen your version before and I do not know what the rules are. Are they: "anything goes" as long as it sounds good and you have no pain - or - it´s got to be a certain way.

I would go for the "anything goes".