We operate a perturbation approach on the finite field equations for clamped slender arches with compact symmetric cross-section and parabolic centre curve under a uniform line load parallel to their symmetry axis. We study small vibration superposed on the relevant stress, assumed of membrane nature. We find the fundamental angular frequency in terms of the aspect ratio of the arch and of the pre-load; the possibility of buckling is examined. This is a first step towards monitoring such structures, and evaluating pre-loads and structural integrity by dynamic measurements. (C) 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.