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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Vibrato for Beginners ( part 1 )

Vibrato is the most common note inflection in music. Even though vibrato is extremely common, student musicians often find that generating a consistent and steady vibrato is quite challenging. The following exercises will help you generate and gain control over your vibrato. strive to make vibrato a habit. The use of consistent quality vibrato will make you sound more musical, emotional, and mature.

STEP 1: What is vibrato?

Vibrato is a rapid pulsation of pitch that is used as an inflection on a note. There are many ways to play vibrato.
• Diaphragm or Throat Vibrato occurs when a musician
   uses his or her air stream to produce controlled
   pitch pulsations.
• Slide Vibrato occurs on trombone when a musician
   uses small slide movements to produce controlled
   pitch pulsations.
• Finger Vibrato occurs on valve instruments when
   movement of the right hand above the valves creates
   actual movement of the instrument producing
   controlled pitch pulsations.
• Lip Vibrato occurs on many wind instruments when
   tiny embouchure movements create controlled pitch

I teach, recommend, and use lip vibrato on saxophone. I recommend lip vibrato because over the years my students have found it easy to learn and control. Feel free to choice any type of vibrato that is suitable to your instrument.

STEP 2: Generating a lip vibrato

On saxophone, generating a quality vibrato can be as easy as speaking. I prefer to teach students using word phrases to help them remember key concepts.

1. Say ìDoo-woo-woo-woo-woo etc.î The ìDooî sound is the legato articulation that begins the note. Many wind players prefer to use a ìTî sound for articulations. If you prefer to use ìTî sounds for articulations, say ìToo-woo- woo-woo etc.î The ìwooî sound represents the physical motion that your embouchure will make to generate vibrato. The motion is small but rhythmically consistent. When you attempt to play vibrato, do not actually say ANTHING! Your vocal chords are not used. Simply use your lips to imitate the sound of ìDoo-woo-woo-woo-woo etc.î or ìToo- woo-woo-woo etc.î

2. Practice holding out long sustained notes and while pulsating the pitch. Donít worry about controlling the rhythmic pulsations yet, just get used to the feeling.

3. Experiment with using vibrato in different registers of the instrument. It can feel quite different in the low register versus the high register.

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