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This discussion includes members-only video content

Vibrato, Tartini, Red Red Rose, Beth, and Bell Curves.

Since joining ViolinLab, I've decided that my vibrato has to go back to school.  Currently, I've got a sort of fiddler's vibrato that tends to be fast and narrow which suits some of the tunes I play.  But that slower, wider vibrato that Beth plays on Red, Red Rose would be perfect for my Scottish slow airs.  The problem, as many will appreciate, is that I don't have a teacher with me when I practice to tell me when it's "right".

A while ago I installed an application called Tartini http://miracle.otago.ac.nz/postgrads/tartini/ on my computer and noticed that it has a Vibrato Window.  Curious about it, I found this excellent write-up about Tartini from a flute player's perspective:
Who knew that flute players have many of the same issues as string players - intonation, vibrato, etc.?  I think that many of the author's points in the article transpose well to string playing. 

So, to determine if this is something that might useful during practice, I played Beth's performance of Red, Red Rose while Tartini was running and recorded the results:
  • The top left window has 2 gauges: vibrato width and speed - pretty self explanatory
  • The top center window with the circle will contain a red blob when it detects vibrato - when your vibrato is very regular the red blob will change to a big red dot within the circle.
  • The top right window graphs a curve - when the shape is a similar to a bell curve, I think it means that the vibrato is smooth.  
  • The bottom window is useful too, it graphs your vibrato pitch fluctuations over time, great for long slow notes.
Beth, by now you're probably thinking "Hmm, the geek runs strong in this one, time to suspend", but before you do I've gotta say it - You have nice bell curves!

Have a great week-end all,

11 Responses
Posted: February 24, 2012
Last Comment: February 27, 2012

Posted: February 27, 2012
Seems like a great tool and free too...but won't work on my computer (vista, 2.4ghz core 2 quad, 4gb ram). Freezes after a few seconds of recording.

But luckily there's source code available on his site, so maybe I'll try rebuilding the application, that might help.

Posted: February 26, 2012
Apologies for the delay, I had house guests and thought the vibrato cyber-weapon experiments might weird them out.

I tried Tartini and Intonia on 3 different laptops with the following specs:
    WinXP, 1.7ghz Pentium, 1gb ram
    WinXP, 2.0ghz Pentium, 2gb ram
    Win7,  2.6ghz Pentium dual core, 4gb ram

Tartini seems to be stable in all of these environments, with the following exception: when you click the SS button on the vibrato window when its recording, the program will crash a short while later.  It doesn't cause a system crash or require a reboot, the program just ends.  It works fine when you start it up again.  As any seasoned information technology veteran would recommend when confronted with a situation like this: Don't ever,ever click the SS button.

I also tried Intonia on these machines since it's a hot topic.  It seemed to be quite sluggish on the 1.7ghz machine (the only reason I mention it is because many of the current crop of netbooks have about those specs) but worked fine on the others.


Beth Blackerby
Posted: February 25, 2012
Eileen, lucky for us, Robyn will be here!!! :^)

Posted: February 25, 2012
Amazing, my fiddle playing can actually crash a computer program, do you suppose the government would be interested in this as a cyber weapon?
More to follow...

Posted: February 25, 2012
Holy smokes Robyn, you've got enough horsepower there to run the free world! I've been using it about as long as you on a couple of different Dell laptops. I haven't noticed any crashes. I'll give it a good workout today and let you know what I find. Odd that an application can bring down an entire system in this day and age.

Posted: February 24, 2012
Whoops - Robyn you beat me to it!

Posted: February 24, 2012
Let me take a stab at that...

1 Hz = 1 "cycle" per second
6 Hz = 6 cycles per second = 360 cycles per minute

Beth Blackerby
Posted: February 24, 2012
Ha!  So how does 6 hz translate in terms of bpm?

Posted: February 24, 2012
On your last note, you have an inspiring 35 cents of width and 6 hz of speed.  Am I starting to sound like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory?

Posted: February 24, 2012
The Intonia vid was great, just what we needed!
I'll go back and check your vibrato measurements.

Beth Blackerby
Posted: February 24, 2012
Haaa!! I've always aspired to nice bell curves.

Not to geeky for this crowd!  Did you see the Intonia video I just posted?

This is way cool too. I couldn't read the numbers on the screen. What was the speed and width of my vibrato?