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Topic: Vibrato with Strad - to ones taste or not? Some thoughts.

  1. #1

    Vibrato with Strad - to ones taste or not? Some thoughts.

    To get a better vibrato on soloing with the Strad, I listened to some great violinconcerto's: Mozart nr.3, Dvorak Op.53, Brahms Op.77 and Tchaikovsky. Played by different soloists, resp. Emmy Verhey(Mozart & Dvorak), Borika van den Booren (Brahms) and Vladimir Spivakov(Tchaikovsky). From all concertos I took the slowest part.

    Emmy Verhey uses the vibrato very fast and starts rather late with it, but it is there and wonderful. By the way she played the Stradivari in those concertos. Borika has slower vibrato and in my opinion a bit too much, while Vladimir tends a bit towards DPDAN's remark about "gispy like playing (some time ago)".

    I think it is just a matter of "education of taste". That exaggerated vibrato DPDAN used in his Young Frankenstein, was just an example, but sometimes it fits the real orchestral pieces very well.

    The Garritan Strad without some vibrato sounds "ugly" and harsh, too thin at the higher registers (even with some very modest vibrato). So we are obliged to apply some and nearly excessive vibrato to get that instrument sound like a violin(on longer notes).

    Bearing in mind that a member of this forum acted against the (his words) "Parkinson" effect and after these concertos, I myself go for modest vibrato on shorter notes and more audible/noticeable on the longer notes, of course with the proper variations in speed and intensity (as DPDAN pointed out is normal in real life).

    What do you think of that? Please comment on this, in particular violin players.


  2. #2

    Re: Vibrato with Strad - to ones taste or not? Some thoughts.

    i'm no violin player, but i know what i like.

    i tend to prefer the no vibrato start leading into a quicker and more prominent one as the volume increases.

    and no vibrato sounds great on slow suspense/horror lines - listen to alan sylvestri's score of "what lies beneath" and you'll see what i mean.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Salisbury, UK

    Re: Vibrato with Strad - to ones taste or not? Some thoughts.

    A violin note without vibrato in the real world can also be a pretty dull sound, though doubtless its use historically is valid. It can be warmed up and enlivened by bowing more strongly and by the natural acoustic of the space. The solution to the issue you raise will probably be found in how you adjust these same factors when setting up the Garritan Strad, i.e. tinkering with the velocity and ambience settings. For me, the Strad is the best violin simulation yet and, though far from easy to handle, it is capable of more subtle effects and transitions than any other program I have heard.

  4. #4

    Re: Vibrato with Strad - to ones taste or not? Some thoughts.

    Ambience, velocities and of course sound shaping using all sorts of CC's is very hard to do. I never had any other solo violin lib. so I can't say that this Strad is the best I've heard. It is a wonderful instrument, period!

    But not as much with other GPO libraries, this is some "nobody knows the troubles I've heard" and it takes quite a lot of editing to get it the way it is supposed to be in the piece at hand, keeping in mind the overal mood and setting of the rest of the orchestral flow.


  5. #5

    Re: Vibrato with Strad - to ones taste or not? Some thoughts.

    Hi, Raymond - I hope you get to hear from a violin player or two, as you requested. Meanwhile, you're getting good feedback.

    I'm glad to see you delving more in to The Strad. I remember quite a long time ago when, on your request, I re-recorded the data for the violin solo line in a piece you did for your anniversary. At that time the problem with what you originally had was that the vibrato was constant, instead of coming in after a notes have settled in.

    What you describe as Emmy Verhey's style seems like the basic performance model to emulate. I would add that you definitely want to vary the vibrato speed, and avoid a lot of the fastest vibrato. It may be literally "correct," but can be intrusive when over-used, and for me, it's the one time when The Strad can verge on sounding more artificial. I would say that generally my After Touch values are way under 64, and that the AT data needs to vary the most during the longest notes, rather logically.

    But there's no getting around the fact that The Strad does indeed require quite a bit of editing, as you said. The theory was that it could be played in real time, as per the great video demo that used to be posted (and is still up at You Tube). But most people find it daunting to control the instrument well enough with live playing.

    The main issue that makes The Strad tricky is that it's overly sensitive to velocity, as has been pointed out many times. The Gofriller Cello is programmed in much the same way, but the velocity curve is less severe, making that instrument easier to control.

    I invariably need to hand edit many of the velocity values in a Strad line, especially the velocity of the first note in a passage. It's very easy to get into that vigorous strong attack even when one didn't intend having it. And of course it's easy to get into that wildly sweeping portamento area which has to be avoided. A judicious use of port can add sweetness at appropriate moments, and of course some styles need more of that sort of thing.

    Varying the vibrato rate, recording both the initial CC11 and CC1 values live, and careful editing of velocity values - those are my main tips about using The Strad.


  6. #6

    Re: Vibrato with Strad - to ones taste or not? Some thoughts.

    Thanks folks,

    I am working also with the following tutorial of DPDAN:



  7. #7

    Re: Vibrato with Strad - to ones taste or not? Some thoughts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond62 View Post
    Thanks folks,

    I am working also with the following tutorial of DPDAN:


    It's a very nice tute, thanks for reminding us of it, Raymond. Looks like DPDAN has covered what it takes to make The Strad sing.


  8. #8

    Lightbulb Re: Vibrato with Strad - to ones taste or not? Some thoughts.

    Best thing is you find a friend playing Violin and sit beside him and look while listening.

    All the answers arrive without any talk.

    If you have no friends playing violin, then find some videos (e.g. Youtube, or solo concert on DVD) and again while listening LOOK!

    The normal life say some vibrato is simply impossible to do different because of the time you have, the position of your hand, and a natural musical feeling (e.g. low vibrato on short notes, you simply have no time to do it heavy, very low or no vibrato on slide, fast legato passages etc. that's more or less logical/obvious).

    The style and habits rule the long notes, but still some natural need exist (e.g. you have to press the finger on the string and then finding the position start moving faster. that's why usually the intensity is not immediately exploited, disregarding the final level the player will reach).

    Last but not least increasing the speed, the intensity decrease (because to move faster, it's hard you can move up and down on the string so much) and viceversa.

    Starting from those technical borders, the rest yes is a matter of style and taste.

    But the problem with a virtual Violin is that you may program unnatural things (using controllers in a way a player can't play, the sounds is immediately appearing so fake or harsh). That's why:
    - I asked Giorgio for programming some pre-designed real vibrato models for beginners or for simple help (like he did consulting for Finale Human playback)
    - You have to study real sound and real players to program Strad correctly. Once you do, still the realism of it is unparalleled by any actual VI disregarding price. And some ugly acid sounds of it magically disappear!

  9. #9

    Re: Vibrato with Strad - to ones taste or not? Some thoughts.

    Good morning friends,

    I applied all info you gave me, including the data I'd found on Internet and the tutorial of DPDAN. Repeatedly I listened to my "creation" and the solo parts of those violinconcertos I told you about.

    It is the solo part from my Symphony, which is a very dramatic piece, with lots and lots of longer held notes, "molto espressione" is the word.

    I can't imagine what to do next, so enlighten me with your valuable comments.

    I edited this file, cutting all "non-solo" gaps to give you some condensed form.

    Here it is



  10. #10

    Thumbs up Re: Vibrato with Strad - to ones taste or not? Some thoughts.

    a part from a strange effect (the sound seems sometime like doubled by a flute or a clarinet...if it's not your will, maybe the attack is a little too low) the violin vibrato is not so bad, but I would expect a little speed acceleration, (strad does it with aftertouch I suppose you know it) reaching relatively soon a slightly faster vibrato in real "default" practice.

    By the way for special effect, you can play with vibrato speed in the score, mentioning that you ask for heavy and slow vibrato. The player is then expected to follow your notes and play exactly as you recorded it now.

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