Vibrato help.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Jazzy816, Dec 3, 2014.

  1. Jazzy816

    Jazzy816 Pianissimo User

    Jun 5, 2013
    Salutations fellow musicians in trumpet land!

    So as some of you may or may not know (I've made posts about this in the past however I'm not the most popular guy on TM..), my schools' spring musical will be Beauty and the Beast. I'm super excited, as are all of my pit friends and choir friends. I've started listening to the soundtrack to get a sense stylistically and I particularly really enjoy the overture. As of right now there are two trumpets auditioning, me being one of them. The other, is principal in our concert group, however our skills are pretty well matched, and I have an extra year of doing pit than he does, so chair placement could go either way. If I do get first, and I really hope I do for this show, the overture has a very beautiful trumpet solo that I would be playing. Solo linked here, please watch this, as I will be referencing it in my question. The solo starts around the 30 second mark and it's obvious where it ends. When the melody repeats itself a second time (at about the 40 second mark) Neil Balm or Tony Kadleck (I don't know which of them plays it..) soars to a g on top of the staff and uses a very large sounding, very fast vibrato.

    My question, how do I practice, develop, and learn to use that kind of vibrato? Currently, I use air vibrato a lot and pull out the lip vibrato when I see fit as well, however, I know even on a good day I can't get a lip vibrato going that fast. Any help/suggestions/practice approaches are greatly appreciated! Thanks!!

    - Jack
  2. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Hand vibrato is easier to control IMO.

    My question, how do I practice, develop, and learn to use that kind of vibrato?

    Your answer is in your question.
  3. tjcombo

    tjcombo Forte User

    Nov 12, 2012
    Melbourne, Australia
    I'm with tobylou8 on hand-vibrato, for both control and can be sort of retrofitted over existing playing in a short period of time. To my ears, the vibrato is just icing on the cake, it's a big open sound that suits that part.
  4. mchs3d

    mchs3d Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 30, 2005
    Provo, UT
    Air vibrato? As in you change the pitch with your lungs?
  5. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    There are three kinds of vibrato: hand, diaphragm (wrongly named) and jaw. It's been my experience that on internet forums, when asked, many recommend the kind that they started out with and have become familiar with. This may or may not be a good thing because the person answering an OP's question may or may not have a perspective on vibrato; may not know how to use all three and, therefore, recommends what they happen to use. I believe you just have to try them and go with the one that works best for you.

    To answer the question about how to develop it - play a long tone and very slowly add a vibrato pulse to it over and over. Gradually increase the speed. Another exercise is to hold a long tone and gradually make the pulses quicker until you get to your preferred vibrato speed, and then continue on, gradually making it slower and narrower. It's kind of like a vibrato accelerando and diminuendo.
  6. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Something to consider here, and it has nothing to do with vibrato, but why do you need to emulate a recording? Vibrato is a stylistic thing that is pretty player specific, so why not simply find your own way of doing something? Use the recordings for reference, but just play the ink, and don't worry so much about big, fast vibrato. I mean, who really cares? If you hadn't heard that recording, how would you have played it? Is the vibrato necessary? Is it written into the part?

    Personally, I have a lip/jaw vibrato that I use, and it's something I've never really thought about very hard, except for at times when I'm specifically trying to play something very straight. I'd venture to guess that the trumpet player on that recording probably wasn't thinking, "ok, I need to use really big, fast vibrato here" as they were playing that line - they probably just played it, and the vibrato was a natural expression of how they play.

    Don't over-think it. Just play it, and bring to it your own musicianship without trying so hard to emulate someone else.

    I've posted and reposted this story, but it involves a drum clinic I attended. The clinician asked for 5 volunteers from the crowd, and using his sticks and sitting down behind his drums, he had them all play a very basic, straight ahead rock beat - kick on 1 & 3, snare on 2 & 4, and 8th note hats. (basic groove for AC/DC "Back in Black") So with all other things being equal and the only differences being the player, it was astounding how different everyone sounded using the same equipment and playing the same groove.

    The point the clinician was trying to make was that we all have our own, unique sound. He further went on to say that while it's great to draw inspiration from our musician heroes, he cautioned anyone trying too hard to sound just like them. He paraphrased it as such: "don't try to sound just like them - you can't, because you aren't them - you are you, and you are going to sound like you." He further went on to say that it was good to get comfortable with our own sound, style and approach to the instrument, and that overall it was more productive than trying to emulate someone else with the impossible goal of sounding just like them.

    As elementary of a concept as it is, it was kind of eye opening to me at the time because I'd never thought about it like that, and it is something that I apply to both my drumming and my trumpet playing. This doesn't mean you can ignore the markings on the page, but what it does mean is that you can choose for yourself how much umph to put behind an accent, or how hard you want to push a sforzando/p/crescendo, especially if you are the lead player. (If you aren't the lead, you need to try to match them stylistically)

    And it also means you can choose for yourself just how much vibrato, or even IF you want to use vibrato, on that soaring top of staff G.
  7. dangeorges

    dangeorges Pianissimo User

    Oct 20, 2010
    Excellent Post Patrick!
  8. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

    May 11, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    Go to Youtube

    Watch as many Harry James and Doc Severinsen videos as you can find. (especially Doc)

    Watch what they do.....REALLY watch.....and do the same.
  9. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    Jack - I really appreciate the way you loaded your opening post with plenty of pertinent information (specific on one hand, not padded with the irrelevant on the other hand). Makes helping you easier. I don't know how many times (maybe it's just the norm) people ask for help and just give broad sketchy info and then for the following umpteen posts it's like pulling teeth to get what an OP's actually after. So . . . thanks.

    So . . . riffing off of the above regarding doing your own thing when it comes to vibrato. I'm not sure I agree. Using your own vibrato depends on your maturity and experience levels. A lot of such things don't really come intuitively, but with experience. Additionally, and what I think is more significant, is knowing what kind of vibrato (or absence) fits the genre you're playing in. Show, Disney music and such genres often have a very similar approach to how the music is played and interpreted. In other words, it has to fit within a relatively narrow-boundried style.

    That's why I would be inclined to listen to examples of top Disney interpreters and use them as a model. When I was a HS student, if I did my own thing on that solo, I might have used a wide Harry James vibrato . . . or a minimalist Miles Davis. But one thing's for sure, I wasn't experienced enough to know intuitively what was the most appropriate for that Disney genre.

    So, at least in this regard, you have my permission to use a recording as your guide. :D
  10. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Great Southern Land
    I have tried using my hand to provide a deeper vibrato in the past and sometimes that resulted in my pulling the trumpet away from my face then hitting it back against my lip/teeth, which wasn't as much fun as it sounds.

    I try to limit my vibrato these days as I think I overdid it in my youth, but I think if I were to work on it I'd work on the lip/jaw stuff Patrick described. Watching Doc Severinsen I think he has that nice fast light touch across his valves which gives him the instant and character-full vibrato, and so I know that works well and may be well worth emulating.

    Last edited: Dec 4, 2014

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