Learning vibrato

Fiddle technique classes, Edinburgh

Learning vibrato

Learning vibrato can seem like a huge hurdle when you’re first learning¬† to play the fiddle. In the early stages of fiddle playing, everything feels alien – the fiddle hold, the bow hold, and trying to move your fingers independently of each other on the fingerboard, are all things that take time to feel natural.

Tonight we tried out a series of steps that help with beginning to play ‘wrist style’ vibrato. Going through each of the steps helps to break the movements down into manageable chunks. As we become more relaxed with our playing, these vibrato movements will start to feel much more fluid and natural. Regularly going though the steps help us to build up ‘muscle memory’, and to get a better sense of how the vibrato movements work.

Bowing patterns

As this was our last evening of the spring term we spent a very sociable evening going over some aspects of fiddle technique that we’ve been learning in the class throughout the term.
We started off by looking at some possible bowing patterns for Spootiskerry, in a bit more depth. We tried using a ‘1 down 3 up’ bowing pattern on the B part of the tune, which emphasises the beat. Then we added a ‘3 up 1 down’ pattern at the start of each phrase in the A part. This pattern emphasises the off beat in the tune, which adds quite a different swing to the tune.


Changing from a march to a reel

We went over the Glencoe March and Iggy and Squiggy a couple of times, then practiced putting them together in a set. We also spent a bit more time working on the join between the two tunes, changing the rhythm and tempo of the last 4 bars of the march into reel time. Doing this adds a real lift to the tune change.

At the end of the evening we played through all the tunes we’ve learnt in the class this term., plus a few other common session tunes (and one or two from Anne’s ever-lengthening tune list!).

Thanks everyone for another really enjoyable term. See you in the summer term!

Learning vibrato in the string Circle fiddle class, Edinburgh
Photo ©Ros Gasson