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Analysis of Double Bass Vibrato

Title: An Analysis of Double Bass Vibrato: Rates, Widths, and Pitches as Influenced by Pitch Height, Fingers Used, and Tempo.
Name(s): Mick, James Paul, author
Darrow, Alice-Ann, professor directing dissertation
Punter, Melanie, university representative
Geringer, John, committee member
Kelly, Steven, committee member
College of Music, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2012
Publisher: Florida State University
Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: The purpose of this study was to investigate the rates, widths, and pitches of university double bass players' vibrato in relation to pitch height, fingers used, and tempo. Forty (N = 40) undergraduate and graduate double bass players were individually recorded performing three music exercises that were used for analyses. Each exercise was comprised of three identical excerpts that were transposed for first, fourth, and thumb positions. Excerpts in first and fourth positions utilized fingers 1, 2, and 4, while excerpts in thumb position utilized fingers 1, 2, and 3. The overall mean vibrato rate and width of university double bass students in this study was 5.17 Hz and 19 cents. A comparison of the vibrato rates and widths of participants' 1st and 2nd fingers revealed that the 2nd finger (5.22 Hz, 21 cents) used both significantly faster and wider vibrato than the 1st finger (5.07 Hz, 18 cents). Additionally, the descriptive data from this study revealed that the 3rd and 4th fingers vibrated faster than both the 1st and 2nd fingers, and they had a wider vibrato width than the 1st finger, but a narrower width than the 2nd finger. The 3rd finger had the overall fastest recorded vibrato rate for any finger in any position. Analysis of vibrato data also indicated that university double bassists use significantly faster vibrato rates as they perform in progressively higher registers. When comparing the combined mean vibrato rates of the 1st and 2nd fingers, participants vibrated at 4.88 Hz in first position, 5.06 Hz in fourth position, and 5.50 Hz in thumb position. Vibrato widths also increased with pitch register. Mean vibrato widths in first position (16 cents) were significantly narrower than mean vibrato widths in both fourth position (21 cents) and thumb position (22 cents). Tempo also significantly affected mean vibrato rates and width. Musical examples played with a fast tempo were faster and wider (5.35 Hz, 20 cents) than musical examples played with a slow tempo (4.94 Hz, 19 cents). Additionally, analysis indicated that university double bassists vibrate almost equally above and below the in-tune pitch. Using the descriptive data for all fingers in all position, the total difference found between mean pitches of vibrated and non-vibrated tones was 1 cent. Music educators can use these results to create more consistent descriptions of double bass vibrato, and potentially, more efficient methods for teaching vibrato.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-5036 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the College of Music in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester, 2012.
Date of Defense: March 13, 2012.
Keywords: Double Bass, Orchestra, String Instrument, String Music Education, Tempo, Vibrato
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Alice-Ann Darrow, Professor Directing Dissertation; Melanie Punter, University Representative; John Geringer, Committee Member; Steven Kelly, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Music
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Host Institution: FSU

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Mick, J. P. (2012). An Analysis of Double Bass Vibrato: Rates, Widths, and Pitches as Influenced by Pitch Height, Fingers Used, and Tempo. Retrieved from