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A Matter of Taste?
Use of Vibrato in Baroque Vocal Music

A Matter of Taste?

While the debate grows over "historical" performance practice with regard to vibrato, one must take a step back every so often to ask the big question--"Should any of this matter? If the performance is pleasing to the ear and moves the soul, has the music not served its purpose?" According to John Butt, "performance is still, as it always was, an ever-changing mode of interpretation". (12) Surely, what is fashionable one day in the constant debate over Baroque vibrato will pass away the next. Perhaps, as in the 16th century, the proponents of nonvibrato or limited vibrato simply embody a reaction against the large orchestral sound of the present day and will, as the heated debate cools, come to some sort of compormise in accepted performance style. Perhaps not. Regardless, the vigor with which musicians wrestle with these issues demonstrates the overall importance of and possibilities of the art of interpretation.

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12. Butt, p.62