Vibrato or Whammy Bar

Whammy Bar. The notation for a movement of the vibrato or whammy bar is either a straight line or curved arc between the initial and terminal notes, annotated with either the expression Whammy or in-line with the abbreviation w. When first introduced and later followed by abbreviation w, the annotation is Whammy (w). Whammy implies that the terminal note is sutained for its duration. It provides no further information about its release. When the abbreviation w appears in-line, it appears at the beginning of the line.

Example 1 illustrates how to introduce Whammy Bar (w) in a composition. The guitarist interprets the straight line between G and E to mean pushing the tip of the vibrato bar down to decrease the pitch from G to E and that w is an abbreviation either for later pitch drops or lifts in the score. Example 2 is an example of an in-line abbreviation of using the vibrato bar to lift the pitch from pitch G to Bb.

Rate of Pitch Change. The straight line or curved arc between the initial and terminal notes represents the rate of pitch change as the guitarist moves the vibrato bar. The rate of pitch change, or speed of the tip of the vibrato bar, is the ratio of the distance traveled by the vibrato bar over time. A straight line as in Examples 1 and 2 represent constant rate of pitch change. The slope of the line remains constant. A curved arc represents a change in the rate of pitch change. The slope of the curved arc varies according to the speed of the vibrato arm at time t.

Example 3, a curved arc with a steeper slope followed by a more gradual slope illustrates faster drop in pitch closer to the initial note and slower drop closer to the terminal note. Example 4, a curved arc with a more gradual slope followed by a steeper slope illustrates slower drop in pitch closer to the initial note and faster drop closer to the terminal note.

Example 5, a curved arc with a more gradual slope followed by a steeper slope illustrates slower lift in pitch closer to the initial note and faster lift closer to the terminal note. Example 6, a curved arc with a steeper slope followed by a more gradual slope illustrates faster lift in pitch closer to the initial note and slower lift closer to the terminal note.

Palm and Whammy Bar Flutter. The notation for palm flutter is a horizontal wave above the target note annotated with the expression Palm Flutter. When first introduced and later followed by abbreviation (pf), the annotation is Palm Flutter (pf). The compact notation comprised of the horizontal wave followed by the abbreviation (pf) is also allowed.

The guitarist creates the palm flutter by placing their palm on the floating bridge bridge and repeatedly applies and releases pressure.

In Example 7, the horizontal wave is annotated with the expression Palm Flutter followed by the abbreviation (pf). Example 8 is the more compact notation comprised of the horizontal wave followed by the abbreviation (pf).

The notation for whammy bar flutter is a horizontal wave above the target note annotated with the expression Whammy Flutter. When first introduced and later followed by abbreviation (wf), the annotation is Whammy Flutter (wf). The compact notation comprised of the horizontal wave followed by the abbreviation (wf) is also allowed.

The guitarist creates the whammy bar flutter by quickly and forcefully pulling and releasing the whammy bar which causes the floating bridge bridge to vibrate until it comes to rest.

In Example 9, the horizontal wave is annotated with the expression Whammy Flutter followed by the abbreviation (wf). Example 10 is the more compact notation comprised of the horizontal wave followed by the abbreviation (wf).