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 Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: clarinetmaniac101 
Date:   2005-06-27 08:19

you Know the first time I played by myself in front of my band teacher, I experimented my doing vibrato. So like 8 measures in the piece he told me to stop and don't do vibrato. He backs it up with this he said you know the clarinet is an instrument that on it's own has a crystal clear sound you know and you don't realy need to disturb the crystal clear sound with vibrato so from that day on I stoped doing vibrato. Now what I want to know is that is vibrato excepted by the clarinet players out there you know because now it is disgusting to hear vibrato on the clarinet now so what do you fellow clarinet players think about this.

Rashad
*clarinet

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: GBK 2017
Date:   2005-06-27 08:37

clarinetmaniac101 wrote:

> because now it is disgusting to hear
> vibrato on the clarinet .



Probably the main reason Goodman and Shaw never achieved popularity ...GBK

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: Synonymous Botch 
Date:   2005-06-27 10:55

It's like curry - who is to say how much is sufficient to taste?

If you do a search on this BBS, you'll find it a regularly visited topic.

My suggestion is that "expressive" playing may not be accepted in some charts, while it is expected in others.

The trick is to maintain pitch while playing vibrato - easier described than accomplished...

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2005-06-27 11:50

> > My suggestion is that "expressive" playing may not be accepted in some charts, while it is expected in others.> >

I think we can agree that playing is necessarily expressive to some degree -- unless we are playing senza espressione to create a deliberate effect -- and expression almost always involves a variation of sound quality. Vibrato is of course one source of such variation.

There are other ways of playing with expression, however, which use different sorts of variation: for example, variation of sound quality on longer timescales than that of vibrato. Here is a brief post to that effect:

http://test.woodwind.org/Databases/Klarinet/2001/04/000074.txt

However, sometimes people want to go further, and argue that vibrato is necessary if you want to play the clarinet well; for example, Jonathan Cohler in:

http://www.woodwind.org/clarinet/Study/Vibrato.html

Well, I don't agree that vibrato is necessary on the clarinet, even though I do sometimes use vibrato myself; and I find many of the arguments used in this article to be deficient.

For anyone interested -- including Mr Cohler -- I posted a detailed response on the Klarinet list in:

http://test.woodwind.org/Databases/Klarinet/2003/06/000705.txt

Tony



Post Edited (2005-06-27 13:54)

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: Kevin 
Date:   2005-06-27 13:33

Vibrato? Oh my, your fearless valor.
For there are 3 things many think a fool:
Vibrato, a non-inverted ligature,
And reckless rushing of K-six-two-two.

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: Clarinetgirl06 
Date:   2005-06-27 18:44

I am one of those people who thinks that vibrato has it's place. I personally love it, but I also feel that it's just not right in certain styles of music. Have you ever listened to Emma Johnson's recording of Concertino? I think her vibrato at the beginning is lovely. I also agree though that the clarinet has a pretty clear and beautiful tone without vibrato. I feel that it has its place and I'm not ashamed to use it when I think it's in one of those places.



 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: archer1960 
Date:   2005-06-27 18:55

For us less-accomplished players, how do you do a vibrato on a clarinet?

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: stevensfo 
Date:   2005-06-27 19:05

>>>Well, I don't agree that vibrato is necessary on the clarinet, even though I do sometimes use vibrato myself; and I find many of the arguments used in this article to be deficient.


Er, you weren't a scriptwriter for the sitcom 'Yes Minister' were you?

It's just that it sounds so like Sir Humphrey.

Life is so short. If you think it sounds good, then DO IT!


Steve

PS Hope you get the joke! :)
Best wishes!



Post Edited (2005-07-01 19:12)

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2005-06-27 20:34

> > Er, you weren't a scriptwriter for the sitcom 'Yes Minister' were you?

> > It's just that it sounds so like Sir Humphrey.

> > Life is so short. If you think it sounds good, then DO IT!> >

Is that really all you want to contribute?

Tony

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: SueSmith 
Date:   2005-06-27 23:07

Personally, I find some clarinetist know how to use vibrato and some don't - just like some vocalists/string players have great vibrato and some don't. Harold Wright and Artie Shaw are two examples of Clarinetist who - for my taste - knew how to use vibrato. Although the two are from different genre's, both are clarinetists' whose tone and technique are close equivalents to the human voice. In laymans terms - they both "sing" to my ear.

As I've exposed myself to different styles of music and musicians (not just clarinetists) I've begun to appreciate vibrato on clarinet more and more. When its done poorly, its horrible...and, for my taste, if the clarinetist has a heavier tone, vibrato can seem too much to my ear - it almost gets too wide maybe? But again, this is just a personal preference, and you may find Wright's tone too thin and that the vibrato only accentuates this.

Whatever style you prefer is an individual preference. I'd suggest listening to several artists who usually use vibrato and see for yourself what you like or don't like...and the "why's?" of it all.

A short list of classical artists who use vibrato liberally:
Wright
Cohler
Stoltzman
Meyer
(This is just a short list, so I'm sure others on this thread can contribute names)

Also, compare the use of vibrato on Goodman and Shaw recordings...I did this recently and really was surprised how Shaw just blew me away overall. As you can see I've become a recent Artie Shaw convert, but I think with excellent reason!

But, if you don't like vibrato on clarinet at this point in time - don't use it when you play. There are no hard set rules for or against vibrato - just a lot of opinion.

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2005-06-28 00:08

SueSmith wrote:

> > Personally, I find some clarinetists know how to use vibrato and some don't - just like some vocalists/string players have great vibrato and some don't.> >

[snip]

> > There are no hard set rules for or against vibrato - just a lot of opinion.> >

And indeed, what you write, unfortunately, amounts to just a contribution to that lot of opinion.

What we need, I think, is a contribution to the discussion of how vibrato may be useful for something -- or, possibly, not useful for something -- and how we might use whatever realisations we have about that to inform our playing in general.

(Compare a discussion for and against the use of another expressive tool, like 'rhyme' in verse, for example.)

The characterisation of vibrato as that sort of thing -- namely as a tool -- is the most important general statement we can make about it. To make that characterisation means that it's as silly to complain in general about someone's use of it as it is to complain about someone's non-use of it.

Because, as in the use of any tool, what counts is what it does in context, and what it fails to do in context.

So we have to judge every case on its own merits.

Tony



Post Edited (2005-06-28 00:11)

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: Clarinetgirl06 
Date:   2005-06-28 00:18

Sue- you mention that some vocalists have good vibrato and some don't. Well, when doing vibrato properly, a singer cannot control how their vibrato is going to sound. I have a faster singing vibrato, which I honestly don't care for too much. It's good, but I wish it was slower. In an ensemble, I can match vibrato pretty well with people around me, but in soloing it just doesn't slow down.

Now, if your talking about a singer trying to produce fake vibrato, then that can sound very gross especially when singers move their jaw or mess with their air stream/stomach muscles, etc.



 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2005-06-28 00:31

Clarinetgirl06 wrote:

> > Sue - you mention that some vocalists have good vibrato and some don't. Well, when doing vibrato properly, a singer cannot control how their vibrato is going to sound.> >

Excuse me for not being Sue -- but a singer should be able to control the degree of their vibrato. (The best singers can.)

> > Now, if your talking about a singer trying to produce fake vibrato, then that can sound very gross especially when singers move their jaw or mess with their air stream/stomach muscles, etc> >

Nothing fake about it, if you've learnt to do it well.

Tony

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: Clarinetgirl06 
Date:   2005-06-28 01:36

Nothing fake about producing vibrato by moving your jaw up and down? Yeah there is! Vibrato has to do with the air and the vocal chords, not the jaw moving up and down. It's tacky first off and it's not a proper vibrato.

Most singers can control their vibrato to a certain degree. I can slow mine down some, but it's still on the fast side. A doubt a professional could make their vibratos very slow (like snail slow, where you can hear the pulsing beats one by one waiting for it to get done so the next one will finally come) and then go very very fast (Snow White fast). They can change it to a certain degree. Also, singers vibratos make them unique- I like some singers because of their unique vibrato. Also, some singers have naturally brighter voices, while some have the huge dark operatic fat lady sound. It's just different. Watch American Idol after the top 40 or so have been chosen and you'll see how many different vibratos their are.

I'll gladly hear/see anything that proves different.



 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: SueSmith 
Date:   2005-06-28 02:13

Quote:

And indeed, what you write, unfortunately, amounts to just a contribution to that lot of opinion.


I suppose I am to feel offended and crawl under a rock, but I don't think so...

My point - to clarify - is that it can be up to the musician if he/she chooses to produce vibrato on the clarinet. There is not one specific vibrato (fast, slow, narrow or wide) and if you choose not to use vibrato, that's also fine. To define
Quote:

what counts is what it does in context, and what it fails to do in context. So we have to judge every case on its own merits
is equally subjective. My judgement will probably differ from yours and from Clarinetgirl06 and from Rashad.

My original post was to entice Rashad to listen to some pro players who are known for using Vibrato, but are unique in their individual approach. It is from Rashad's statement:
Quote:

Now what I want to know is that is vibrato excepted by the clarinet players out there you know because now it is disgusting to hear vibrato on the clarinet now so what do you fellow clarinet players think about this.
, that I felt personal anecdote and example could be useful.

Rashad simply asked the BBmembers for their opinions - and mine offered was one of many - yours included.

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: SueSmith 
Date:   2005-06-28 02:27

Quote:

Nothing fake about producing vibrato by moving your jaw up and down?


Charlotte Church automatically came to mind when I read that.

Quote:

Sue- you mention that some vocalists have good vibrato and some don't.


I am no expert on vocal vibrato - and my current knowledge extends only from a couple years worth of vocal lessons. I used vocal vibrato as an example of how one person may love a certain singers vibrato...and another person may think "That sounds like a nanny goat!" It's all subjective. What I call "bad" vibrato, may sound "good" to your ear. But, I would assume there is a certain median standard of technique most singers would aspire to...including attaining control of their vibrato. Again, I probably never studied voice at your current level. You could always ask your teacher her opinion on the subject and get back to me. That would be interesting.



Post Edited (2005-06-28 02:28)

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: Markael 
Date:   2005-06-28 02:33

Tony Pay wrote: “What we need, I think, is a contribution to the discussion of how vibrato may be useful for something…The characterisation of vibrato as… a tool -- is the most important general statement we can make about it.”

Why?

Good Lord, we are talking about music. We’re not building the Golden Gate bridge.

Music is sensory, sensual—like food. Some people like chocolate; others like strawberry.

I am reminded of Dr. McCoy’s words to Mr. Spock, who was trying to comprehend the meaning of “Row, row, row your boat:”

“It’s a song, you green blooded Vulcan!”

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: Clarinetgirl06 
Date:   2005-06-28 03:46

Charolette Church was doing vibrato improperly. I think she's gotten it under control now though. It can be untrained.



 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: hans 
Date:   2005-06-28 13:21

archer1960,
Here's how you do it:

Pitch vibrato is a waver, even in both frequency of fluctuation and width of pitch variance. The pitch varies equal amounts above and below the true pitch while the ear takes the mid point.

Vibrato gives life, warmth, and beauty to a tone and provides contrast with "straight" tones. It can make certain notes stand out.

There are 2 other types of vibrato: intensity, and timbre, but they are not as commonly used.

Speed of vibrato will depend on the expression required, but is usually less than 5 to 8 pulsations per second. Slow vibrato will seem to have wider pitch fluctuation than fast vibrato.

Vibrato is easier on some notes, usually the higher notes, than on others.

The easiest way to produce vibrato on the clarinet or saxophone is by a gentle chewing up and down or back and forth by the lower jaw.

1. Start without the instrument by saying "wow".
2. Connect a series of "wows" as in "wowowow".
3. Repeat the second step while blowing the instrument.
4. Gradually increase the speed of the "wowowow".

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: archer1960 
Date:   2005-06-28 13:43

hans wrote:

> archer1960,
> Here's how you do it:
>
> Pitch vibrato is a waver, even in both frequency of fluctuation
> and width of pitch variance. The pitch varies equal amounts
> above and below the true pitch while the ear takes the mid
> point.

...

> The easiest way to produce vibrato on the clarinet or saxophone
> is by a gentle chewing up and down or back and forth by the
> lower jaw.


Thanks for the description, Hans!

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2005-06-28 14:58

Markael wrote:

> > Music is sensory, sensual—like food. Some people like chocolate; others like strawberry.> >

Music is sometimes just that; but good music is a great deal more than that.

That's why it has the potential to move us deeply, because it has a much more complicated structure than the taste of chocolate or strawberry (which we merely like or don't like) and engages both our conscious and unconscious selves.

The use of vibrato, which at its best highlights some notes and not others, contributes to that sort of structure, often in ways that aren't consciously predictable to the performer or listener.

http://test.woodwind.org/Databases/Klarinet/2003/06/000733.txt

Sue Smith wrote:

> >To define

"what counts is what it does in context, and what it fails to do in context. So we have to judge every case on its own merits"

is equally subjective. My judgement will probably differ from yours and from clarinetgirl06 and from Rashad.> >

People differ in such judgements, but that doesn't mean it's *equally* subjective. Someone who uses vibrato musically intelligently gets the musical listener beyond wanting to say things like, I like vibrato or I don't like vibrato, in the same way as they might say, I like chocolate or I don't like chocolate.

But on rereading your original post I see that you left room for that, that even if you didn't say it just now; so I'm sorry if you felt I jumped down your throat.

Tony

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: ClariBone 
Date:   2005-06-29 04:58

Custom tailor your sound to the piece you are playing. If you like vibrato, use it unless instructed by a superior (ie. director, section leader, etc.) to stop. However don't limit yourself to just clarinetists vibrato. Listen to vocalists, trombonists, cellists, violinists, etc. and create one pleasing to your ear as playing clarinet should be to ones personal enjoyment. Please inform us on you ultimate decision as I am VERY curious!!!! Good Luck and Happy Clarinetting!!!!!

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: Markael 
Date:   2005-06-29 11:08

I wrote: “Music is sensory, sensual—like food. Some people like chocolate; others like strawberry.”

Tony Pay replied: “Music is sometimes just that; but good music is a great deal more than that…[music] engages both our conscious and unconscious selves.”

So do chocolate and strawberry. Some of the engagement that takes place is universal, some is particular to the individual. The odor of a food you remember from childhood can “take you back” in much the same way as happens when you hear an old song you haven’t heard in years.

I’m not saying that these deeper and more complex associations don’t exist. Quite the contrary. The deeper and more profound they are, the sillier one begins to sound when trying to unravel and explain them.

Have you ever had a dream that helped you solve a problem or gain self-understanding? Typically the symbolism in the dream works on many levels, combining disparate and paradoxical elements. When you try to explain it to someone else your words fall short of what you are trying to say. And even if you could find better words, you know that there is more meaning there than you could ever hope to understand or explain.

I guess I’m trying to say is that you sounded silly when you said that “what we need” is a reason to like music or be moved by it. I don’t mean to be at all anti-intellectual or anti-science in saying this: Sometimes the best response to mystery is silence.

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: johng 2017
Date:   2005-06-29 14:24

Personally, I like to play with a vibrato when it seems appropriate. But, what would you do in an orchestral audition for an orchestra where the clarinets have never used vibrato in performances? Would you take the chance of using vibrato when it might effect your audition outcome?

johng

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: Clarinetgirl06 
Date:   2005-06-29 19:35

Haha John. Here's what you do. Try out with no vibrato and when you make it, use all the vibrato you want! j/k. Well..... it could work. I dunno, what do the experts have to say on this one? Good question John!



 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: Liquorice 
Date:   2005-06-29 20:18

depends on the orchestra

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: sanya 
Date:   2005-06-29 21:16

I find that vibrato is more of an oboe thing, haha. I mean, now that I play both, I definitely can tell that the clarinet sounds so beautiful without vibrato, and the oboe sounds beautiful WITH it.

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2005-06-29 21:52

Markael wrote:

> > Music is sensory, sensual—like food. Some people like chocolate; others like strawberry.> >

I replied:

> > Music is sometimes just that; but good music is a great deal more than that…[music] engages both our conscious and unconscious selves.> >

Markael further wrote:

> > So do chocolate and strawberry. Some of the engagement that takes place is universal, some is particular to the individual. The odor of a food you remember from childhood can "take you back" in much the same way as happens when you hear an old song you haven’t heard in years.> >

Does it not occur to you that there is an analogy between 'the taste of strawberry' and 'the sound of a clarinet'? And that that analogy makes it clear that 'the sound of the clarinet' is on a more superficial level than 'what the sound of the clarinet *does*, in detail, in a passage of the Schubert Octet'?

> > I’m not saying that these deeper and more complex associations don’t exist. Quite the contrary. The deeper and more profound they are, the sillier one begins to sound when trying to unravel and explain them.> >

Who wanted to 'explain' them?

What I and other serious performers do is to *explore* them, and make them come alive.

'Unravelling' is another matter. In fact, it's *you* that sounds 'silly' when you say that you can't unravel aspects of music. Of course you can unravel those aspects. And the fact that you can unravel them, and characterise them, allows you to begin to have the relationships *between* them to operate on a deeper level.

That's why we practise, for god's sake.

> > I guess I’m trying to say is that you sounded silly when you said that "what we need" is a reason to like music or be moved by it.> >

Well, I didn't say that. What I said was that "what we need is a contribution to the discussion of how vibrato may be useful for something, or possibly *not useful* for something, and how we might use whatever realisations we have about that to inform our playing in general."

I haven't been particularly concerned with vibrato myself, but I've needed to understand how similar things are useful, and to practise them, and I'd say that *quite probably*, you and others need to do so too. For example, it's not a question of whether I 'like' 'bright' or 'dark' sounds, just as it isn't a question of whether I 'like' 'consonants' or 'vowels'.

I'm beyond that.

Or perhaps you think -- since I'm 'silly' -- *you're* beyond that.

So I'd argue that what we *don't* need is a discussion of whether we 'like' or 'don't like' vibrato, or like or don't like chocolate, or like or don't like red, or green, or 'dark' or 'bright' sound, or Buffet, or Selmer, or all the other stupid likes and dislikes that people delude themselves with here.

(But, of course, Sue, that's just an opinion. Or is it an argument?-)

Tony



Post Edited (2005-06-29 22:08)

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: clarinetmaniac101 
Date:   2005-06-30 03:40

this is Rashad,

My thing is I used to do vibrato on the clarinet, and yes I was instructed to stop even though I was the section leader of a very tight clarinet section my band director who is a clarinetist said that

Qoute:
the clarinet is an instrument that has one of the purest sound along with the flute, the flute in other wise uses vibrato because it enhances it's sound, you know it just sounds boring without it, but the clarinet has such a clear tone if played right that vibrato dose not need to interfear with the clear tone.

Now I stoped because of that very reason I have always gotten complements on how clear my tone is and I don't need to use vibrato so I just stopped but, some people realy don't need to use it because either it is too much or too little you can never find a good center point on playing vibrato on the clarinet so you know eveybody has their opinion on playing vibrato on the clarinet. But thanks to your helpful post.

Rashad
*clarinet

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: donald 
Date:   2005-06-30 09:40

i have no problem with people using vibrato (in classical playing), whether they are playing the Saxophone, Violin, Flute, Clarinet etc....
but often when i hear it used by Clarinet players, the use of Vibrato is accompanied by a loss of focus in the sound.... it seems to me that many clarinet players change the "shape of their sound" when utilising Vibrato.... and do so in a way that i personally don't enjoy hearing.
Harold Wright played with Vibrato? i don't recall noticing this, probably because he did so tastefully and without the above mentioned side effect....
other players?..... i recall litterally wincing when hearing another successful player on the radio making the tone wobble ridiculously whenever there was a long note..... (won't say who as it's not relevant, and it was someone who i admire on many other levels).
just my opinion, nothing more than my taste, but i thought i could explain that my opinion/taste wasn't just based on some kind of clarinet chauvinism.
donald

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: Markael 
Date:   2005-06-30 11:33

Well, I feel the need to make one more post on the vibrato – chocolate –strawberry issue, and then I won’t say any more about it.

I do this with great trepidation. In the first place, perhaps I should not have contributed to this thread at all, because I added nothing to the understanding of vibrato. I merely responded to what you said to Sue; it hit me wrong. Perhaps I misunderstood you completely. If so, I’m sorry for muddying the waters. Then again, maybe I was not the only one who took it that way.

Secondly, I’m talking with someone who knows much more about these matters than I do, and it seems that I gave you the impression that I was saying, “Well, let’s not bother to carry this study of vibrato too far.” Surely this must be maddening to one who has devoted his live to plumbing the depths of music.

Third, I spent a long time last night working on this post and went to bed unsatisfied with what I had written. I wondered if the time had been well spent, and whether posting again would end up as endless hair splitting and perpetuation of misunderstanding.

Threads on this board are basically conversations, and like oral conversations, they take many twists and turns. It just sounded to me as if you were insisting that the conversation remain on an academic level, marking an answer wrong any time someone simply said, “I like vibrato” or “I don’t like vibrato.”


Also, I think you are too quick to dismiss the taste metaphors. I stand by what I said: Music is sensual. Perhaps I should have included the term “visceral.” To understand how musical devices “work” we can’t forget or minimize this.

“Does it not occur to you that there is an analogy between 'the taste of strawberry' and 'the sound of a clarinet'? And that that analogy makes it clear that 'the sound of the clarinet' is on a more superficial level than 'what the sound of the clarinet *does*, in detail, in a passage of the Schubert Octet'?”

My taste metaphor was not about the flavor of the clarinet in general, (clarinet = strawberry) but rather its use in the rendition of a piece of music. I was comparing chocolate versus strawberry to vibrato versus non vibrato. It wasn’t particularly a good metaphor, nor was it the first taste metaphor in this thread.

Synomomous Botch used a much better metaphor, comparing vibrato with curry. A little goes a long way. Composers and arrangers write the recipes, players and conductors tweak and adapt them.

Maybe even that is not the best metaphor, but don’t knock it until you can offer something better. For my money, it makes sense to describe vibrato as a seasoning—perhaps one that works well in passage A but not passage B.

And by the way, I would never describe the tone of a clarinet as “strawberry.” It is definitely black cherry. I’m not saying this to be flip; I made the connection when I read your post, and black cherry is my favorite flavor. Perhaps that partially explains why I chose clarinet as my instrument.

Well, that sounds like an individual and personal thing. But what about this: Sometimes when I hear certain types of jazz clarinet passages, it makes me think of an ice cream cone. And then I read Tom Ridenour’s description of the tone of a clarinet, which he describes as a combination of oh and eee. He further describes the shape of the tone as like an ice cream cone. This type of unconscious associations, some of which sound crude or simple, may be the keys to understanding music on a deeper level.

As for personal preference: True, if we are going to study music, teach music, learn how to use all the expressive tools at our disposal, we have to say more than “I like this; I don’t like that.” But you go to such lengths in making this point that it seems almost as if you are dismissing the whole idea of personal taste, even your own. It makes me wonder what you pop into the CD player at the end of a hard day when you just want to relax.

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: D Dow 
Date:   2005-06-30 12:58

There are a number of great clarinet solos and works where vibrato is a great part of the music...

Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue is a wonderful clarinet solo where vibrato is a must to bring out the jazz feel. There are an awful lot of players in classical music who cannot do the Smear in the first bar..listen to the Kurt Mazur Leipzig recording done in the 70s...he plays the scale and then plays the conducted segment straight as a board! Just awful!

It is interesting to note a comment on the Oboe...well sometimes in orchestra the Oboe has to go without vibrato depending on the effect in the music..etc. As to the conditions vibrato is employed in wasn't there a time when everyone In the UK pretty much used it? (on clarinet).

A fine clarinet player can certainly get a clear sound with vibrato as well...Harold Wright occassionally employed vibrato and very tastefully.
.check his superb recording of the Schubert Octet. It rates as one of the very finest recordings of this work..there is also a wonderful recording of the Rhapsody Espagnole in Boston under Ozawa where the clarinets are in thirds....a lovely moment to employ a light vibrato!

Another moment which comes to mind in the classical repetoire is the wonderful solo in the Pines of Rome which I have heard done nicely with and without vibrato...

Another solo clarinet work is the Debussy First Rhapsody for Clarinet...Drucker uses a bit of vibrato and so does Sabine Meyer...
However they certain play this piece very differently from each other and as effectively as anyone....they also use quite a differently styled vibrato..Sabine tends to use a bit more than Drucker.

To vibrate or not to vibrate is the question I ask?

David Dow

Post Edited (2005-06-30 13:01)

 
 Re: Vibrato on the clarinet?
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2005-06-30 13:05

Thanks for writing so thoughtfully, Mark.

I have nothing against any of your metaphors for vibrato. You're right that I have laboured a little making my own point, and perhaps I lumped you and Sue much too quickly together with the guy who wrote, 'life's too short'. Sorry about that.

The thing is, I suppose, that I spend a lot of my time not only playing but listening to other people playing. And a lot of those people I'm listening to are ones who are asking me what they need to do, or think about, in order to get better.

The difficulty with that is that it puts their attention on 'their' playing, as though that's a real, existing thing, consisting of 'their' sound, 'their' articulation, and 'their' vibrato (or not).

Whereas I'd say a more realistic description of what happens to an expert when they play is that they don't have their attention on anything like that. What they're rather asking themselves, moment by moment, is what the music wants (not what they want), and their attention is on trying their level best to produce it. Their playing will have identifying characteristics, perhaps, but that's not what they're thinking about.

(BTW I think that's why, on the very few occasions that an expert player finds everything very easy, their performance can begin to sound superficial, if they're not careful, because they start admiring themselves and 'their playing'; and contrariwise, the experience of having to work quite hard is not *necessarily* counterproductive to the listener.)

For this reason, teachers try to get their students' attention off themselves and on to something like, 'the discrepancy between what the music is currently requiring and what they're currently producing'. In other words, they try to get them to listen for *what's missing*. This process inevitably draws the student deeper into the music. It's still true that their likes and dislikes operate -- you can see that it's *them* who gets to decide what the music is requiring:-) -- but those likes and dislikes operate in a secondary role, and can even be over-ridden.

Another way of saying it is that it's as though the piece itself becomes their teacher -- which is one reason why it's a good idea to expose yourself to the best music you can, and to play as much of it as you can.

Now, perhaps I'm wrong in this, but I think that we're talking here on this Bulletin Board essentially to players, even though there's a wide spectrum of ability. And because I think what I've just been describing is so fundamental to what being a good player means at all stages of development, I think it's worth encouraging them *all* in this direction, by talking in its terms. So instead of just saying, I like vibrato, therefore I play with vibrato, they'll tend to say, I think something special should happen on this note, let's try vibrato. (Or I suppose they might say, I'm going to play this passage with vibrato, but something special should happen on this note: let's try NON-vibrato!-)

You say at the end of your post that I seem to be dismissing the whole idea of personal taste, even my own. Well, so I am, in the sense above. It's because I'm a player. If I were just a listener -- or perhaps, *when* I'm just a listener -- I wouldn't need to.

Of course, none of us can actually do that completely in practice; but I'd have to say that there are other situations in which it can be a good idea to go in that direction.

If for example I have to decide which of several young players I think should be given money to continue their studies, I try not to let the fact that one of them has an idea different from my own of what the clarinet should sound like, influence me *too* much in that decision.

Instead, I try to ask what I would say are deeper questions about their music making.

Tony



Post Edited (2005-06-30 13:09)

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