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I understand it requires control of the diaphragm and air pressure, but how does one modulate it and are there any good exercises for training vibrato on a bassoon?

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A little broad, but a useful question nonetheless. –  American Luke Sep 19 '12 at 0:21
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Good question and an important one --rather than offering my own personal views I suggest that one start by listening widely to other players, and not only bassoon players. For example, the fluctuation in pitch that is so characteristic of vibrato on the cello or violin may not be as attractive on the bassoon ---listen to terrific players and start to form an ideal with your inner ear before you worry about the physical means to this end. Also, listen to singers to help define what you consider desirable; and last and certainly not least, build as flexible a control of your vibrato a possible --it is an addendum to the expressive aspects of your playing and should be made constantly appropriate to the needs of the moment. Good luck .......

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My teacher had the following suggestions:

  • Put the metronome to a moderate 60 bpm
  • Try to achieve a fine tone (middle C) in moderate volume (mp or mf) for four beats, so the air flow is stable
  • For the next four beats try one additional volume maximum (in middle between the beats)
  • Advance to the next tone in scale

If this works, increase to two and then more maxima.

The rest is the typical black magic. While really caused by the diaphragm, imagine control to be in the throat etc.

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