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Thread: Developing an "American" Vibrato

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Richmond, KY
    Posts
    24

    Developing an "American" Vibrato

    Hello all!

    Throughout my time playing euphonium, I've always modeled my tone and playing after American players - Demondrae Thurman and various military band soloists, to be precise. Some tubists and horn players also contributed in my low and high ranges, and I've built what I feel to be a characteristic sound on my horn. However, it's been brought to my attention that I tend to play with a very "shallow" vibrato; where a lot of American euphoniumists tend to play with a pretty deep vibrato. Considering I'm pursuing a career in euphonium playing here in the states, and not in Europe, that might be something I should fix, or at least learn how to use the more American style of vibrato.

    My professor attempted to explain it to me today in a lesson, and while I understand the sound I'm going for and how I'm supposed to be achieving that sound, there's a disconnect between my brain and my face. I understand that I need a deeper, slightly slower and darker vibrato, and I need to practice some lip bends and control in order to get that. However, I'm having a lot of trouble actually achieving that particular technique, and find myself reverting back to a rapid, bright vibrato almost immediately when trying to apply it to a solo piece.

    Anyone have any tips on how to practice this new skill, and how to break old habits of vibrating the way I'm so very used to doing?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisH View Post
    Hello all!

    Throughout my time playing euphonium, I've always modeled my tone and playing after American players - Demondrae Thurman and various military band soloists, to be precise. Some tubists and horn players also contributed in my low and high ranges, and I've built what I feel to be a characteristic sound on my horn. However, it's been brought to my attention that I tend to play with a very "shallow" vibrato; where a lot of American euphoniumists tend to play with a pretty deep vibrato. Considering I'm pursuing a career in euphonium playing here in the states, and not in Europe, that might be something I should fix, or at least learn how to use the more American style of vibrato.

    My professor attempted to explain it to me today in a lesson, and while I understand the sound I'm going for and how I'm supposed to be achieving that sound, there's a disconnect between my brain and my face. I understand that I need a deeper, slightly slower and darker vibrato, and I need to practice some lip bends and control in order to get that. However, I'm having a lot of trouble actually achieving that particular technique, and find myself reverting back to a rapid, bright vibrato almost immediately when trying to apply it to a solo piece.

    Anyone have any tips on how to practice this new skill, and how to break old habits of vibrating the way I'm so very used to doing?
    This seems like an issue you should discuss with your teacher since they are familiar with your playing. That being said, have you tried performing your vibrato with a metronome to achieve the desired pulse rate? Also, keep in mind that your vibrato should not be static. It should be able to vary based on the style of music you are playing and the effect you are trying to achieve.

    Mike

  3. #3
    Vibrato is an expressive tool, which may be added to a quality tone and musical interpretation. It should not be used on every note, should not always be the same strength, and should not always be the same speed. The views I just stated are not universally shared (at least, not based on performance), but I think they are valid. Here are some videos on the topic.

    The first is my own:

    https://youtu.be/AyIZWoqmhKo

    The great Steven Isserlis:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qk1Xd-oNz6o

    Then listen to this for about 30 seconds. Hear how he helps build the ascending line by withholding vibrato on a note, than adding it back to the repeat of the note. Nice.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPU1...outu.be&t=1050
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  4. #4
    I think you have to listen to good vibrato to know what to develop. Of course, in the end it will be your sound. A couple of examples:

    Whenever I've listened to him I thought Adam Frey had a very American vibrato. He starts a pitch, then warms it up with a beautiful slow vibrato. Here's a good example. the opening section of "Vintage."

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYHtbdHZ8nc

    And because I feel trumpets are great for vibrato instruction, here's a little bit of American trumpet style by Tim Morrison, who played extensively for John Williams:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTfq...EyB00Q&index=2

    John

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Posts
    3,133
    Some excellent examples shared by JTJ. Tim Morrison has been one of my all-time favorite trumpet soloists to listen to. Wonderful tone, perfect vibrato and what presence he has with his sound. One of my favorite recordings of him was on "Born on the Forth of July" - John Williams. Great music, troubling movie though.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_fJg7ncjaI
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank


    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    When the Saints Go Marching In (arr. Mashima) at ACB Conference Ft. Lauderdale
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  6. #6
    That is really nice Rick. Thanks for the link.

    John

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