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Classical Mandolin Lesson: An Introduction to Vibrato


Instruments are designed, for the most part, to emulate the sonic capabilities of the human voice. What’s beautiful about the human voice, particularly in the context of music, is its ability to convey a vast array of complex emotions by using subtle inflections and intricate nuances within a musical passage. These nuances can be as simple as slightly wavering the pitch of a single note up or down, a technique referred to as vibrato, which can completely alter the emotional character of a performance.


Skilled musicians often utilize this vibrato technique on their instruments to capture this emotive quality of the human voice. Stringed instruments in particular are able to replicate the vibrato of the human voice very easily, simply by gently bending the string to adjust the pitch of a note when playing. The mandolin is no exception to this rule.


In this online mandolin lesson, world-renowned classical mandolinist, professor at the Music Conservatory in Cologne, Germany, and ArtistWorks classical mandolin instructor, Caterina Lichtenberg, teaches how to utilize the vibrato technique on the mandolin and provides detailed insights to help you begin incorporating vibrato into your own playing.


LEARN MORE: Want to learn how to play classical mandolin from a master musician like Caterina Lichtenberg? Try some free online mandolin lessons now!


“I always include vibrato in my playing. I cannot help myself,” explains Caterina. “Vibrato adds importance to certain notes and adds an emphasis through softness. It adds touch and feel to your playing.”


Playing vibrato with a proper feel can be difficult at first. Since the technique is all about subtly and micro-movements, it’s easy to over bend and lose control of the oscillating pitches when you’re first beginning to implement the method. So, make sure to cut yourself some slack as you work toward mastering your vibrato. These small fretting-hand movements will quickly become second nature, muscle memory will take over, and you’ll be able to execute your vibrato playing with precision.


“How you decide to implement your vibrato all depends on the note length and the emotion that you want to try to convey in that musical moment,” explains Caterina. “Sometimes I play a fast vibrato, sometimes a slow vibrato. It’s all about giving each note a little bit of soul, and eliciting the proper emotions.”


To learn more about the vibrato technique and how to implement the method into your playing, dive into this online mandolin lesson from Caterina Lichtenberg:


An Introduction to Vibrato with Caterina Lichtenberg:




Have you always wanted to learn how to play the classical mandolin? Through our comprehensive mandolin lessons online and Video Exchange Learning platform here at ArtistWorks, you can learn from internationally renowned players, like Caterina Lichtenberg, and get personal feedback on your playing.


Caterina’s course starts with the basics and teaches everything from beginner mandolin to advanced performance techniques, iconic classical pieces, music theory, and beyond. So, whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player, all levels are welcome and all students will grow and improve their skills as mandolinists and musicians.


Try out some free sample music lessons here and see what makes ArtistWorks courses some of the best online music lessons around!



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Caterina Lichtenberg Solo Nominated for Opus Klassik Award




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