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Carolyn Mayr asks

    Thanks Winslow, I assume that is the "throat vibrato" you all
    have discussed. Without sounding too naive--how do you get a
    draw vibrato (like the kind at that sweetens up the end of a
    phrase)? Is this "vibrato" or am I using the wrong term here?
    I REALLY am confused about this point.

Yes, the coughing-muscle vibrato is the same throat vibrato, as
least as far as I understand. And, yes, vibrato is frequently
used to sweeten the end of a held note or phrase in jazz and
popular music, while in other styles of music (classical, blues)
it is more likely to be used consistently throughout a phrase
when the notes are of medium duration, and abandoned when the
action gets going too quickly.

It was more the ongoing type of vibrato I was thinking of with
that exercise, although the control you gain from it can also be
applied to phrase endings.

The draw and blow throat vibrato are the same, though things
that seem perfectly natural when exhaling may at first seem a
little strange when breathing in. Try whispering

    Uh!-Uh!-Uh!-Uh! (etc.)

on a steady stream of inhaled air, without using your vocal
cords, and without moving your mouth in any way. Then apply the
harp. If you take the exclamation marks too literally, the
modulations in the note will choke off into a string of separate
sobs, and the note will bend down (if a draw note). By softening
up a little on the exclamation marks


you can smooth this out to an unbroken modulated tone at a steady
pitch. Of course the pitch dip and the choking sob will be just
right for some expressive purposes.

People get very finicky about defining the boundaries between
vibrato, tremolo, and flat-out wobble (the definitions shift and
overlap depending on whether you're singing, playing the violin,
or using an amp with a tremolo knob, although everyone seems to
agree that wobble is too much of a good thing), but in fact all
definitions have in common the steady, repeated modulation of a
continuous musical tone, whether by slight fluctuation in the
pitch (FM or frequency modulation) or in the volume (AM or
amplitude modulation).

On draw notes in Holes 1-6 on a diatonic, you can get both FM and
AM, but on blow notes in the same range you get only AM, as those
notes don't bend (at least not much - they do bend slightly and
maybe enough). And yet, using throat vibrato, blow and draw notes
sound more alike than they do different in modulated character.
For consistency's sake it helps to go easy on the FM on the draw
notes, unless you're playing a phrase or passage that's all draw.

The tongue vibrato I mentioned can also be used as a
phrase-ender. In addition to AM and FM, it also changes the tone
color, and can impart real warmth.

Hand vibrato, on the other hand, changes mainly the tone color. Going
back to that three-or-four-to-the-beat throat vibrato, you could
close your hands on the first pulse of each group, thereby
defining the beat - Wah-ah-ah, Wah-ah-ah, or Wah-ah-ah-ah, etc.
Or you can do it in an unmeasured fashion with fast throat
vibrato to get a hot-and-bothered sort of sound.

Hope this helps.

Winslow Yerxa
Harmonica Information Press
Z  We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life
Z  is rounded with a sleep . .

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