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Visualizing Vibrato
MRIC 2013/14

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Visualizing Vibrato

Garrison Video

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 | 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Presenter:   Leonard Garrison, Associate Professor of Music

Throughout history and in many cultures, musicians have used vibrato as an expressive device. Psychologist Carl Seashore wrote, “A good vibrato is a pulsation of pitch, usually accompanied with synchronous pulsations of loudness and timbre, of such extent and rate as to give a pleasing flexibility, tenderness, and richness to the tone.” A vibrato is a marker of one’s personal style, but there are boundaries of good taste, parodied by Burt Lahr as the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz. A vibrato can be too fast, too slow, too wide, too shallow, too irregular, or too mechanical. What are these boundaries? Technology provides tools to measure a vibrato’s speed and extent and to analyze how excellent musicians employ it.

Leonard Garrison shares years of research analyzing thousands of recordings of musicians using vibrato. He has previously presented this topic at the National Flute Association and the British Flute Society. In 2006, Garrison joined the faculty of the Lionel Hampton School of Music, where he teaches flute and aural skills. He is flutist in the Northwest Wind Quintet, the Scott/Garrison Duo, and the IWO Flute Quartet, and principal flutist of the Walla Walla Symphony. He holds a Doctor of Music degree from Northwestern University. Garrison received Master of Music and Master of Arts degrees from The State University of New York at Stony Brook and his Bachelor of Music from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

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