The amount and intensity of vibrato as a default playing style is highly depending on the instrument and also location of the orchestra. While string players naturally add vibrato to longer notes, brass players only play with slight vibrato when they have an exposed solo but even that can vary depending on taste and style of the player. Woodwinds usually play with vibrato apart from the clarinets which usually don’t use vibrato unless you record in some Eastern European countries where the “Bohemian vibrato” is sometimes still part of the default playing style. Also, jazzy Clarinet playing usually requires vibrato.

Most of the time, you don’t want to take influence on that unless you have a specific need for a specific sound (e.g. request the solo trumpet player to play with lots of vibrato to get the Western trumpet style etc.).

However asking players that would usually do a vibrato to play “senza vibrato” will create a fascinating, pale, lifeless and almost dead sound. It also makes dissonant chords more transparent and is often used in thriller/horror scoring but can also add fantastic effects in other genres.


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