Vibrato and Tremolo
These terms are not used consistently.
I am surprised that we have not tried to straighten them out here in a.u.e.
My understanding was that they both referred to
small variations that repeated a few times per second. Vibrato: small variations in pitch
Tremolo: small variations in amplitude
But it is not that simple. Some people use vibrato to mean variations in both pitch and amplitude, some and/or. Then tremolo might mean too much vibrato.
Perhaps it is consistent among the various specialty groups: String players
Operatic singers
Other singers
Other instrument players
Organ makers
Electronic instrument makers
Amplifier makers
In a background way, I had thought that vibrato on a violin meant only pitch variation, but now I wonder if amplitude variation is a necessary secondary effect, or if that might only be a symptom of poor technique.
Anyway, I am sure that there are some here better qualified to straighten this out knows which group uses which meaning.

Richard Maurer To reply, remove half
Sunnyvale, California of a homonym of a synonym for also.
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Vibrato and Tremolo These terms are not used consistently. I am surprised that we have not tried to straighten them ... wonder if amplitude variation is a necessary secondary effect, or if that might only be a symptom of poor technique.

As one who has attempted to play the violin (under severe pressure from my father an accomplished violinist), I know it is impossible to induce a rapidly varying amplitude in a violin-produced tone. My father was often complimented for the exceptional tone quality in his violin playing, achieved by excellent vibrato and bow techniqes.
My father played second violin for the San Jose Symphony Orchestra for many years.
Anyway, I am sure that there are some here better qualified to straighten this out knows which group uses which meaning.

I used to sing, but not well enough for solo performances. I have performed publicly as a member of several choirs, starting when I was around fourteen, and last when I was in my early twenties.

Skitt (in Hayward, California)
www.geocities.com/opus731/
Vibrato and Tremolo

As a side-note: the whammy-bar on a (some) electric guitars is sometimes labelled "tremolo bar" /(even by people who should know better), even though it does in fact produce a vibrato.

jouni maho
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
My understanding was that they both referred to small variations that repeated a few times per second. Vibrato: small variations ... am sure that there are some here better qualified to straighten this out knows which group uses which meaning.

Well... here are their respective entries from the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians:
Vibrato
(It., from Lat. vibrare: ‘to shake’).A regular fluctuation of pitch or intensity (or both), either more or less pronounced and more or less rapid. The Italian term ‘tremolo’ is also occasionally used for vocal vibrato. Terminology used in music was not standardized until the 20th century; earlier terms, primarily applied to vocal vibrato, include: flattement, flatté, balancement, balancé, plainte, langueur, verre cassé; tremolo, tremolo sforzato, ardire, trilletto; Bebung, Schwebung; and sweetening, depending on the effect wanted or technique used.

Terminological uncertainties arise because vibrato is regarded not as a single ornament but rather as a complex of ‘quivering’ ornaments which might be modified in performance depending on the desired expression or the emotion to be aroused. Neither intensity nor tempo, therefore, can be clearly determined, and many Baroque or Classical kinds of vibrato are only distantly related to our present concept. ‘Wobble’ (exaggerated, slow or irregular vibration of the singing voice) is a technical fault, and not to be regarded as vibrato.
Vibrato as a device can be found throughout Western music with descriptions dating from early medieval sources to the present day, but the techniques have varied. Historical descriptions are often vague and do not make clear how the vibrato was actually produced, but it seems always to have been accepted as an ornament until the first quarter of the 20th century, when its continuous use gradually became the norm.
Tremolo
(It.: ‘quivering’, ‘trembling’).
A term now most strictly used to denote a rapid reiteration of a single note or chord without regard to measured time values. Early name-forms include the German Schwärmer (W.C. Printz, 1689) and Rauscher (D.G. Türk, 1789), as well as the Italian bombo (see Bombo (i)). The word ‘tremolo’ has had several different meanings and is also used for an accessory Organ stop (tremulant).Girolamo Diruta, in Il transilvano (Venice, 1593), divided ornaments into five categories: minuta, tremoli, groppi, clamationi and accenti. Of these the tremolo was an alternation of a note with its upper neighbour and lasted half the written time of that note. His is the clearest definition among a whole series of descriptions ranging from Vicenzo Capirola’s lute manuscript of about 1517 (‘tremolo s’un tasto solo’) through Tamás de Santa María’s Arte de tañer fantasía (Valladolid, 1565, using the word ‘quiebros’) and Zacconi’s Prattica di musica (Venice, 1592).

In Opera intitulata Fontegara (Venice, 1535) Ganassi dal Fontego gave a list of fingerings for tremolos on the recorder, describing the various characteristics of each according to whether the interval of alternation was a semitone, a tone or a 3rd. In lute music, and occasionally elsewhere, the tremolo seems to have been more the equivalent of the modern mordent than the modern trill. In the preface to his eighth book of madrigals (1638) Monteverdi described the repeated-note tremolo, one of the most striking characteristics of the stile concitato; and he specifically mentioned 16 semiquavers in a bar.

There is every reason to believe that he expected each of those 16 notes to be heard and that he wished for a clearly articulated sound, not a shimmering effect, thus using the tremolo merely as a notational shorthand, comparable with the modern practice of notating repeated semiquavers as in ex.1. In Venetian music, earlier uses of the tremolo to mean repeated notes may be found in Biagio Marini ’s op.1 (1617), where the cantus has the instruction ‘tremolo con l’arco ’ and the basso ‘tremolo col strumento’, and in G.B.

Riccio’s La pichi (1621). In 17th-century sources the abbreviation ‘t’ or ‘tr’ is ambiguous: it can mean either ‘trillo’ or ‘tremolo’, both of which can denote repeated notes or alternated notes. In the 18th century the word ‘tremolo’ was often used to signify vibrato (sometimes denoted with a wavy line).
Vibrato and Tremolo These terms are not used consistently. I am surprised that we have not tried to straighten them ... am sure that there are some here better qualified to straighten this out knows which group uses which meaning.

On the violin, vibrato is done by the fingering hand, whereas tremolo is generated by the bow hand. Vibrato, a variation in pitch, is produced by rocking the finger back and forth on the string. Tremolo, the fast repetition of a single note, is produced by "scrubbing" the bow back and forth. Amplitude variation (variation in loudness) is not part of either technique.
-skipka
My father played second violin for the San Jose Symphony Orchestra for many years.

Wasn't he good enough for the first string?

Bob Lieblich
Ba-da-bing
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.


On the violin, vibrato is done by the fingering hand,

Mamma mia! First Janet's boob, now "fingering hand." What is this place turning into?
Speaking of Janet, here's a witty photo (36K) by an unknown artist:

Reinhold (Rey) Aman

My father played second violin for the San Jose Symphony Orchestra formany years.

Wasn't he good enough for the first string?

Received usage is:
for baseball (and some other sports?) string.
for orchestras desk.

Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs (Ottawa, Canada)
many

Wasn't he good enough for the first string?

Received usage is: for baseball (and some other sports?) string. for orchestras desk.

Thank goodness. Otherwise my feeble pun would have been even feebler.
But it is necessary to note that the names of individual instruments can be used metonymically for the instrumentalist first (or principal) bassoon, second horn, etc. And who has not heard of "second fiddle"?

Bob Lieblich
Fourth keyboard
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