View Full Version : Tremolo

08-27-2002, 08:00 PM
Hi there - new to the forum - rated & recommended by a friend - and ive surfed about and it looks excellent .

So my first question is: Im learning classical guitar and would appreciate some hints to master the Tremolo - or do you know any easy pieces that use this technique that i can use as an approach to mastering it.



Bongo Boy
08-27-2002, 09:59 PM
Can't help you, but the terms are driving me crazy. Thought I'd add the following to stimulate converstation. This may be best reposted to Theory or even somewhere else:

"Vibrato" is a collective term covering oscillations of pitch, intensity or timbre that singly or in combination serve to enrich the musical sound (Neumann 1978: 521). In Early Music at least, Donington (1974: 229) suggests that we should reserve the word tremolo for fluctuation of intensity, often but not necessarily amounting to a reiteration of the note, and the word vibrato for a fluctuation in pitch not amounting to a change of note. When two notes a tone or semitone apart alternate we speak of a trill.

When the notes are more than a tone apart we speak again of tremolo or tremolando. All of these were regarded as specific ornaments in the baroque period.

According to Donington, it is mainly tremolo, not vibrato, with which good singers bring their tone to life, and it is vibrato with which string-players enhances their tone.

Folks here may say, "Yeah, so what?" I only say I don't know how these terms are commonly used nor how they 'should' be used. But I do know--they are driving me nuts.

08-27-2002, 10:04 PM
Hey BongoBoy...

yeah, itīs a common thing... many people mix up "tremolo" and "vibrato". Also, there is "trem picking"... :)


Bongo Boy
08-27-2002, 10:12 PM
...holy crap, my post looks as though I did that research. Not the case--that entire post is one I copied and pasted from a web search--I have to apologize for not knowing the source. Point is...it's not MY knowledge or research. Sorry about that.

08-27-2002, 10:22 PM
Hold on dudes.

Seantheman....do you mean tremelo as in...the technique wherby you play a constant stream of one note that sometimes kinda changes, under a strong melody?

Hideous description.

But as you mentioned classical guitar, that is what came to my mind.

Or as the other posters have asked, or taken you to mean...do you mean, vibrato...? the colouring of a note by kinda shaking it.

Bongo Boy
08-27-2002, 10:29 PM
...yup that's what I was afraid of. I have to apologize...please read me carefully: I DON"T KNOW WHICH IS WHICH and I'm NOT trying to correct anyone!!!!!!!!!!!

I dorked-up and tried to turn this thread into a "will you please define these two terms" thread. Again, PLEASE, I apologize. I hear vibrato and tremolo used seemingly interchangeably--and I just want to know a) the original meaning, b) commonly understood modern meaning.

Finally, I apologize a 3rd time for doing that in this post--it's NOT what the poor guy asked!!!!

08-27-2002, 10:50 PM
Hey Bongo

really no reason to apologize. I am sure that someone has a helpful answer for seantheman...
OK, I said that the terms "vibrato" and "tremolo" often are mixed up these days... think of the "trem bar" ( another word for our whammy bar ) etc.
Now, as far as I know, the common definitions are:

TREMOLO: Alteration in volume. Old amplifiers used to have a "tremolo" effect ( listen to Hendrix, Page... or more recently, the dude from REM ), which simply faded the volume in and out.

VIBRATO: is an alteration of pitch, like bending up a string with your left hand or the vibrato bar. ( By the way, in classical guitar, vibrato often is executed by moving ALONG the string, instead of bending it )

Or to put it into different words ( Thanks, Dan ! ): "The ordinary definition of vibrato is "periodic changes in the pitch of the tone", and the term tremolo is used to indicate periodic changes in the amplitude or loudness of the tone"

Thatīs the definition I was taught and that most people agree on... like a standard to avoid mixing up those two, causing confusion.
By the way, TREM PICKING is actually some kind of staccato-picking. Taking a note and picking it very fast, continuously. You can i.e. hear it in Eddie Van Halenīs "Eruption".
An Aminor scale in quarter notes looks like this in TAB:


And sounds like THIS (http://www.ericvandenberg.com/ibreathe/trem.mid)

Hope this clears up some things for everyone.

08-27-2002, 11:32 PM
sorry all - i meant Tremelo - constant streaming of the one note under a melody - a beautiful effect - but hard to master - well for me anyway.

I dont have any easy exercises or pieces to help get my technique up and would appreciate some hint.

p.s. great site - where do i vote?

Bongo Boy
08-27-2002, 11:52 PM
...and so the tremolo bar is REALLY a vibrato bar.

08-28-2002, 12:07 AM
This technique is usually done over the melody not under.

08-28-2002, 04:49 AM
Originally posted by szulc
This technique is usually done over the melody not under.

I don't think there's any difference?

08-28-2002, 09:05 AM
Hi, tremolo in classical guitar is a technique based upon mantain a pedal high note streaming.
It's a difficult technique since it requires to
keep a contant velocity and a great fluid movement
of fingers i,m and a (first, middle and annular).
God examples of pieces using this technique are
"Recuerdos de la Alhambra" of F. Tarrega and
"Una limosnita por amor de dios" of Agustin Barrios Mangore.

To dominate this technique I would recommend you that take one chord and begin a pattern of tremolo
of two notes using tumb for appegiating the bass
and only i and m fingers to make the tremolo.
Once you dominate this, change the fingers to m and a keeping the same chord, then change to i and a.

Then you can pass to tremolo of three notes, and change the order of sequence your fingers:



This would make all your fingers to keep fluidity


08-28-2002, 09:25 AM
Hi jesus,

You explained that perfectly well. It's quite some time that I worked on classical music. Here's one exercises I used to work on a lot. I think it's the beginning of a technical study by F. Tarrega - bar chord and tremolo exercise ...


08-28-2002, 10:52 AM
Thanks Jesus, that excercise and those tips are very useful - i recognise those pieces you recommended - but im gonna tackle the technique master it b4 i tackle the pieces.

Cheers for now