[Dixielandjazz] Re: Bechet's Vibrato

LARRY'S Signs and Large Format Printing sign.guy at charter.net
Sat Jun 11 15:34:40 PDT 2005

This is a common thing that the subject of playing notes is the sole topic of music lessons.  My music lessons are very different.  First I only take on a student that can already do all that stuff.  I teach how to play music with a capitol M.  Playing jazz is like playing three dimensional chess while everyone else is still using a flat board.  

If you want to learn how to shape vibrato you must listen to a singer like Barbara Streisand.  If you have any way of slowing down the tape or record you will hear how she starts a note (on pitch) then out of nowhere the note starts to vibrate wider and wider.  

First you need to know what you want then:

On clarinet and sax as I have said there are two types of vibrato jaw and diaphragm.

To do a jaw vibrato you just make a motion like chewing gum (prohibited in band class) with your front teeth.  Your first tries will probably be awful.  Most students are afraid that they will lose the tone --possible -- Do this -- go into the upper register of the clarinet and make siren sounds.  You should be able to lip from a high "C" to at least an "A" possibly a "G" and back.

The movement isn't really large.

After you get a little control start with eighth notes then triplets then  sixteenth notes and try wide like Glenn Miller and narrow.

You need to avoid using it all the time like some flute players or electric organs.

The way I learned this was by asking a sax player what he was doing and it was like a light went off.

Diaphragm vibrato is like laughing deeply saying HA HA HA.  This is what flute players do to produce vibrato.  This is more difficult to learn and takes a lot of practice.  Much more than a jaw vibrato but it does have it's rewards.  Very slow soulful ballads really call out for this kind of vibrato.  Generally slow music is much more difficult to handle than fast.  A myriad of problems  can be covered up by wiggling the fingers fast but very slow tempo tunes are extremely exposed and nothing is excused.  But, slow music is where both kinds of vibrato really comes into it's own.

You need to learn different styles of vibrato just as you need to learn styles of music.  One style of vibrato is like a one beat drummer.  When I say styles I mean like Birched, Miller, Pete Fountain, Sinatra, Streisand.  All somewhat different.

If all else fails find someone who can do it and have them show you.
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Tramette89 at aol.com 
  To: sign.guy at charter.net 
  Sent: Friday, June 10, 2005 6:47 PM
  Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] Re: Bechet's Vibrato

  Your little thing on vibrato was interesting. I'm one of those clarinetist/saxophonists who has no clue on how to play that stuff. My sax teacher was a jazzman, but we spent 2 years doing nothing in lessons and I never learned vibrato. My clarinet teacher is a real straightlaced person, extremely conservative in terms of what is acceptable on the instrument. She doesn't believe in vibrato, or notes above high G, or anything else that might be perceived as "jazz". (She always says, "Well, what would you want to do that for? That's what jazz musicians do." She's trying to turn me into a concert clarinetist!)

  So...I guess it's sort of hard to explain via the internet, but could you say once more how to produce vibrato on a clarinet and/or saxophone? (Since none of my teachers or band directors have addressed it...you hit the nail on the head there w/ your comments.)

  Lily Korte 

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