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The Magazine of Early Music America is for everyone who loves and wants to learn more about early music and the people performing it today.

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Vibrato Wars

Judith Malafronte

Many people think a peace treaty was signed after the vibrato wars of the 1970s, when the plush string textures of the modern symphony orchestra were challenged by the leaner sound of historical instruments. Eliminating vibrato, along with playing on gut strings, was the most noticeable mark of historically informed performance style. Before it was even called HIP, employing “authentic instruments” set early-music players apart from symphony orchestras, and singing with a pristine, boy-like sound marked a new vocal coloring.

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