Have I achieved vibrato?

Alternate Fingerings, Scales, Tone, Studies, etc.

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sherbert789
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Post by sherbert789 » Mon Aug 07, 2006 10:06 am

My teacher was French taught (Oberlin grad.), so when I was "learning vibrato," she would play a passage of my music and then tell me to play it back how she played it. She would also play things along with me and tell me to follow what she was doing (she never really told me until after the fact that it was vibrato that she was trying to make me play).

I'm not sure if this is considered learned vibrato because she was trying to get me to play with it . . . it didn't just happen one day that I was playing with vibrato . . . but I never did any of those rhythmic exercises, and I don't think I will use rhythmic exercises to teach my own students vibrato.

flutegeek1992
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Re: vibrato

Post by flutegeek1992 » Mon Aug 07, 2006 4:50 pm

flutepicc06 wrote:
That's interesting (and Sleeping Turtle, I'm just using your post as an example of someone supporting the natural vibrato thing, so this really isn't directed at you alone), that you guys seem so heavily in favor of the natural vibrato. No one that I play with claims to have a natural vibrato, and those few that I know who do generally end up sounding like a billy goat. I learned my vibrato, and I can tell you that there is nothing artificial about it, though from experience those with natural vibrato do sound artificial. Perhaps it's a failure to control it, and I'm by no means trying to imply that y'all have poor vibrato. After all, vibrato is just a fluctuation in pitch, so if you can adjust for pitch, you can use this same technique to learn vibrato.
I was always taught that if you sound like a billy goat your throat is closed. I learned my vibrato by myself, by listening to other people (professionals of course) then trying to mimick it. I ended up with a vibrato that is all my own and that I get complemented on often :). Don't try to sound just like Galway or just like your teachers. Mix them all and sound like yourself :).

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Mon Aug 07, 2006 5:00 pm

See, I wouldn't say that you have a natural vibrato, though. According to my definition (which very well may differ from others'), the conscious attempt to learn vibrato makes it a learned vibrato rather than a natural one. A natural vibrato comes from people who regard it simply as part of the sound, and are not consciously attempting to produce it, and have little understanding of how it works, because for them, it just happens. It's spontaneous, and may not be fully formed at first, but as I've said before, the conscious attempt to mimic vibrato disqualifies it as natural. You must also have a wide range of speeds and depths of vibrato available to really express yourself, and this simply is not likely to happen naturally. The original point of my posts was that it is entirely possible to learn an excellent vibrato, rather than just waiting for one to come to you, and analyzing the personal experiences given by all of the rest of the members seems only to have solidified this idea, as almost everyone seems to have learned their vibrato at some stage or another, even if not from beginning to end as I did.

flutegeek1992
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Post by flutegeek1992 » Mon Aug 07, 2006 5:50 pm

I definantly don't consider myself to have a natural vibrato. I learned it by myself, which isn't the same thing in my mind. I learned from other people and didn't just let it come to me. In my experience, a lot of older kids and those without proper flute lessons have a billy goat vibrato and are horrible. Sure, they can brag, but they don't look so good at contest when the judge tells them to drop the billy goat act. :). She was snobby and deserved that though, but I'd still use my own method.

Sleeping Turtle
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Word play?

Post by Sleeping Turtle » Tue Aug 08, 2006 3:24 am

So maybe we're playing with words - if we mean slightly different things by 'learnt' and 'natural' and possibly even 'vibrato' as well.

I was looking on the web and this sums up my real issue; The vibrato is INSIDE the sound:

'French vibrato, says Peter Lloyd, is more of a shimmer --a presence--rather than something layered on top of one's sound. French flutists identify the term "vibrato" with an exaggeerated "wah-wah" that calls attention to itself as a separate component and is not incorporated into the flutist's overall sound.'

The whole article is a dissertation on Peter Lloyd - http://www.larrykrantz.com/chapt3.htm Very interesting.

I am curious what you mean by 'the playing and teaching style of the old French school is beginning to fall out of favor '

Which is the 'old skool', Gaubert or Moyse? The style of Gaubert is out of fashion, but Moyse? To my mind he was really the first of the 'modern ' players and was doing something different to Hennebains, Gaubert et al. And if people's style is not 'French' (metal flutes, wider range of tonal colouring, etc) what is it?

So you know where I am coming from, my main teacher was a pupil of Geoffrey Gilbert (who learnt from Le Roy) and Moyse.

T

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flutepicc06
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Post by flutepicc06 » Tue Aug 08, 2006 10:04 am

Well the French school used quite different teaching methods to most modern teachers, and some different techniques (French tonguing for example) as well. As the world has become "smaller" due to better technology, the various schools have begun to disappear, and a more worldwide sound and method, employing pieces of the various schools is beginning to take it's place. That's what I meant by the French school going out of favor. I think that also answers your question of what people's style is if not French. Individual country's players (France, Germany, America, Britain, etc.) could sometimes be identified just by their tonal concept, or their interpretations of pieces, but in the age of a universal flute sound, while pieces of the French school's style remain intact, other pieces have been replaced. To me, the old French school ended just about the time that Gaubert died, though it's students were widespread, and the influence of the French school continued, with some changes, progressing and evolving along with other influences from other parts of the world into what we have today, which I think we can agree is not the French school.

sakuramimato
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Post by sakuramimato » Thu Sep 28, 2006 2:08 pm

I'm not sure if the vibrato I acquired is natural or not. I never really learned it or remember how long I've been using it (probably around early junior high, 2-3 years into studying flute) and I also never had private lessons, so I'm not completely sure what my vibrato might be defined as. I've had compliments from my past few directors about my vibrato and tone quality and they've asked if I've taken lessons from a private instructor. When I told them that I never had lessons, it surprised them even more.

I was a little aware that flutists could apply vibrato to their sound, so I tried playing just like how I sang and control some (probably a majority of the speed) with my throat and add depth with my diaphragm, but I'm not really sure if that's how vibrato is supposed to be.

Like what flutegeek1992 posted, I added the "vibrato" to my playing whenever I felt it was necessary for shaping and used it as much as I could just to develop it and get better at it. (I guess how I learned it could be considered a "taught" vibrato.) It probably wasn't until freshman year when I started experimenting with vibrato speed.

So, whether my vibrato's natural or taught, I'm not sure, but I like how I vibrato and like to experiment with it and create different variations. When I learned that what I was doing was vibrato and that other people made the billy goat sound, I didn't really like it and didn't want to imitate them and kept with my own vibrato (even though the billy goat one is considered "natural".. I don't think it sounds very natural and doesn't come close to resembling singing). I also don't favor playing in vibrato on some kind of meter or playing it with eighth notes and triplets, etc.. I guess to me, I prefer letting vibrato come out natural rather than restricting it to some kind of beat.

I'd love to hear more vibrato stories and insights! :)

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