Re: [Harp-L] diaphragm vibrato

It is possible to produce good sounding pure diaphragm vibrato. And of course you can do it on the exhale - I know because I learned it from listening to a clarinet player who was doing it; ain't no draw notes on a clarinet.

The clarinet player was playing with Django Reinhardt circa 1942 - possibly either Gérard Léveque or Hubert Rostaing. It was a slow, sensuous tune (Lentement, Mademoiselle) with lots of long, held notes. Throat vibrato (especially the throbby way it was played back then) would have sounded pompous, and Rostaing instead used diaphragm vibrato for a light vibrato that had the steady pulsation of vibrato without significant pitch variation - it floated instead of digging in.

Playing this tune in 1st position in the bottom octave made the most sense on diatonic harmonica, but it meant holding a Draw 2 bent down 2 semitones as a very long note. At the time I couldn't sustain a bent note with throat vibrato - I hadn't yet learned to separate deep bending on the back of the soft palate from the nearby sensation of pulsing the cough muscle for vibrato. So I bypassed the mouth and throat and went for pulsing my diaphragm for vibrato instead. It was a strange sensation at first, but it worked very well. allowing me to put a pulsing wave in the note while sustaining the bent note at a stable pitch.

Later I began to notice how the diaphragm and throat vibrato started to join together and support one another - the diaphragm gave the vibrato heft while the throat put the edge on the throb. I found I could adjust the mix between the two according to the result I wanted. And after awhile I was able to do throat vibrato both on sustained bends and sustained overblows.


----- Original Message ----
From: Michael Rubin <rubinmichael@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: d d d <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, January 8, 2008 12:31:37 PM
Subject: [Harp-L] diaphragm vibrato

The holy grail?  Maybe, in that many people say they do it, few
 actually do.  I have met many people who, when I test them,  are doing
 standard throat vibrato.  I have met around 10 people  who have a diaphram
 vibrato that sounds terrible in comparison with the standard throat
 vibrato sound, imo.  
  Both Gary Primich and Jason Ricci have shown me they get a mixture of
 throat vibrato and diaphragm vibrato.  Both told me (as far as I
 recall, Jason) they cannot separate the two techniques.  Perhaps that is how
 Gary got his very quick vibrato.
  I cornered Adam Gussow at the last SPAH literally as he was checking
 out of the hotel.  He is the only person I have ever met who can
 separate the throat and the diaphragm vibrato.  There is unquestionably a
 great difference in tone and the diaphragm vibrato is SUPERCOOL however,
 no cooler than a throat vibrato per se, just different.  
  As far as I understand Gussow's lesson, it can only occur during the
 inhale.  It can occur during bends.  He uses it mostly on the low
 notes, holes 1 and 2.  Draw in pulses of air in a steady rhythm, with each
 pulse push out with your diaphragm.  After a while it becomes a muscle
 memory situation and smooths itself out.
  As usual, I came away from SPAH with a list of around 6 things I
 wanted to practice.  As usual, I practiced all 6 for about a month,
 narrowed it down to 2 things I am more obsessed about and dropped practicing
 everything else including diaphragm vibrato.  I am still alive though,
 so the story ain't over yet!
  Michael Rubin
Harp-L is sponsored by SPAH,

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