Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Violin 
211 
THE PITCH FACTOR 
The pitch vibrato. Small166 summarizes his findings on the pitch 
vibrato, on the basis of the recordings listed in Table I, as follows : 
Summary. 1. The pitch vibrato appears in practically all 
tones of the violinists studied, except on the open strings. It is 
typically present throughout the whole duration of a tone. 
These facts indicate a close similarity between the violinist’s 
and the vocalist’s use of vibrato (24).* 
2. The average rate of these violinists’ vibrato is 6.5 cycles 
per sec. with but a small range between individuals. This rate 
is in agreement with previous studies on violin vibrato (12, 19), 
and when compared with the vocalist’s (24) rate indicates that 
the typical rates for these violinists and vocalists are the same. 
3. The average extent of the vibrato is approximately 0.25 
tone. This confirms previous reports (12, 19) and again indicates 
that the violinist’s vibrato is only half as wide as the singer’s. 
4. Measures of regularity yield average successive cycle-to- 
cycle differences of 18% in rate and 10% in extent. This is 
essentially the same as for vocalists (24). 
5. The form of the pitch pulsations is quite smooth and 
regular; it approximates a sine curve. 
6. The rate and extent of the pitch vibrato are independent 
of each other, both for the individual violinists and for the group. 
7. Although these measurements have yielded valid state¬ 
ments of sound field conditions with reference to the particular 
performances studied, constant caution must be used in drawing 
conclusions from them concerning violin playing generally and 
audition problems specifically. For the very reason that hearing 
is subject to such a variety of illusions and that a linear relation¬ 
ship does not exist between auditory stimulus and sensation (5), 
an objective approach to art, such as the present, affords a 
peculiar opportunity for the analysis of many technical problems 
which are usually obscured by the function of perception itself. 
8. Implications which are significant to the understanding of 
the vibrato-producing mechanism are: (a) The cyclic movement 
of hand and arm approaches simple harmonic motion, (b) The 
stopping finger moves both above and below the principal pitch. 
Numbers in parenthesis here refer to bibliography in Small.1M
        

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