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Continuous vibrato

The art of using finger, wrist and biceps to create a bel canto effect integral to our sound


Professor of Violin, Cleveland Institute of Music, OH, US

BORN Moscow, Russia

STUDIED WITH Zinaida Gilels, Leonid Kogan, Viktor Tretyakov, Abram Shtern

TEACHES Conservatoire students aged 17


In order to produce continuous vibrato in a melodic passage, one has to employ the wrist and fingers constantly: without them vibrato is simply stuck. You cannot rely on single impulses coming from the arm to play, for example, the second subject of the Tchaikovsky Concerto, which needs a bel canto sound from note to note.

Vibrato training should begin with the finger tips and pads, which are the first points of contact with the string. It is through flexibility of the first finger-joint that vibrato oscillations are generated. Once you have a good finger vibrato, you can move to the wrist and finally the arm; eventually all three should interact.

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About The Strad

The Shanghai Quartet celebrates its 35th anniversary and we hand on some yoga tips for string players. There’s an in-depth look at Stradivari’s working methods and Shostakovich’s violin works. Plus Maxim Rysanov’s Life Lessons and Rivka golani’s Sentimental Work