Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by dauminator3, Dec 6, 2003.

  1. dauminator3

    dauminator3 Pianissimo User

    In the last week, my director has been harping me on my use of vibrato. I play in several large ensembles, one smaller (about 20 players, I am the only trumpet), and jazz band. I come to find out that I really do not know when to use it or not. I have been told to do it when if feels natural, but it always seems to feel natural, especially when I am playing with the small group. Could anyone lend me any suggestions on best times to use and best times to avoid vibrato?? Thanks....

  2. kdawg

    kdawg New Friend

    Nov 19, 2003
    what i normally go by:
    longer than normal notes (i.e. 2 beats+ maybe less, depends on tempo and stuff) add vibrato towards the end of the note
    any other time i try to avoid it
  3. dauminator3

    dauminator3 Pianissimo User

    Anyone else?? I just made all-state orchestra and would like to sound my best there....

  4. alanbach

    alanbach Pianissimo User

    Dec 10, 2003
    South Wales U.K.
    Orchestral players seem to frown on vibrato.....the brass band scene in the UK went through a similar patch during the 70s 80's and 90s but it appears to me that vibrato has returned in a big way. The sound of the British brass band nowadays is so very smooth and warm sounding. I have always used vibrato and always will, particularly on flugel horn which is my main instrument. :wink:
  5. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Possible flame material here...but:

    If the music (or composer) "calls" for vibrato, use it. If it doesn't....then why would you want to sound like an old lady in church who can't find the note? (or....shudder....a violin). I am constantly mystified by trumpet players (especially...although flutes certainly aren't immune to the problem) who seem to need to quaver their way through everything they play. Most of them probably don't even realize they're doing it!

    Nonsense Eliminator...this sounds like something you'd be qualified to comment on.
  6. gzent

    gzent Fortissimo User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Rochester, MN
    dauminator3 - Congrats to you!

    I agree with Toots, again. :)

    Vibrato shoud be used as the style of music dictates. If you're going to become a well-rounded player that gets called to play in any and all types of groups then you'll need to be able to control vibrato (among other things).

    Now I don't know if there is an absolute 'correct' technique. I don't think about it too much, but I think jaw movement / lip does it for me, but I also think the diaphram plays into it for me as well.

    Pick up some recordings of repsected players, listen to what they do, and copy it. When you can do that, then start changing it to be faster/slower and harder/softer. To me, learning to listen is almost as important as practicing.


    PS - Here's also some good thoughts on techniquie from Nonsense Eliminator on TrumpetHerald:

    "Both lip vibrato and hand vibrato have their plusses and minuses. Lip vibrato can help you keep your chops loose, by keeping them moving a little -- kind of like wiggling your toes to keep your legs from clenching up when you're standing still for a long time. Also, in my experience, lip vibrato is more likely to become "part of the sound". I find hand vibrato often sounds like something added on top of the sound, whereas lip vibrato sounds like it's mixed in. Lip vibrato can also help you "zero in" on the centre of the pitch. I also think it might be possible to achieve a finer degree of control of the exact shade of the vibrato using a lip vibrato.

    The main drawback of lip vibrato is that it does become habit. I used to have a real problem with using too much vibrato, too much of the time. (I use a lip vibrato.) It took quite a while to get it under control, and even now I occasionally catch myself using it where I don't mean to. Generally, what I have found helps is to do some or all of my daily routine without any vibrato. Also, simply playing long tones and really focussing on controlling the vibrato -- faster, slower, wider, narrower -- can help make you aware of what's going on.

    I guess I prefer lip vibrato, with the caveat that you MUST be careful to stay aware of it all the time.

    As for when, that's really complicated. The style of music makes a big difference, and not just "classical" or "jazz", but German vs. French, Romantic vs. Classical, Bruckner vs. Mahler, natural trumpet vs. valve trumpet vs. cornet, and so on. The kind of ensemble matters too -- wind band vs. jazz band vs. brass band vs. orchestra. What kind of line you're playing -- solo vs. section vs. soli -- and who you're playing with also make a big difference -- flutes and fiddles use vibrato all the time, horns and clarinets do seldom if ever. Everybody tends to develop their own internal "rules" for what they do with vibrato. Listen to recordings, and experiment."
  7. TangneyK

    TangneyK Pianissimo User

    Nov 10, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ
    Just to reiterate....


    Three different vibratos in three different styles that "I" like:

    -Tony Kadleck (New York cat, does lots of lead stuff.)

    -David Hickman (Solo trumpetist extraordinairre, teaches at Arizona State University.)

    -Clifford Brown (Hopefully no explanation needed.)

  8. afsd94

    afsd94 New Friend

    Jan 2, 2008
    I take offense to the violin comment :x I'm a violinist and a trumpet player...

    but about the vibrato, If you have a slow solo, ur definitely gonna need to use it, but if you are playing with a bunch of other trumpets, unless the music says to, ur not gonna want to use it, because it'll sound weird with the other trumpets that will most likely NOT be using it.
  9. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    This thread is 4 years old, the original poster probably got through his all-state and the issue of vibrato is still controversial.

    If you are in an ensemble, the director has the last word. As a soloist, musical taste is required to do the right thing and that is learned through IMITATION. I know of little music where vibrato is specified in the score.

    We cannot compare violin and trumpet vibrato however. The violinist uses vibrato to "thicken" the sound and improve blend in the section. Neither works with a trumpet.

    Bottom line? Buy some CDs and go listen to some live music. Better than any internet forum that I know of!
    MJ likes this.
  10. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    I agree that when playing in an ensemble with other trumpets, especially if more than one other trumpet is playing your same part, abstain from ANY vibrato. If you are playing a solo while in an ensemble do as the conductor demands. If you are playing a strictly solo number, it is YOUR solo. use whatever embellishments that you find to be musically pleasing to YOU. In this case, YOU are the one being judged by the audience. I guess that the bottom line is that as a musician you are REQUIRED to please the audience first and foremost. Do what THEY will surely enjoy.


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