I am regularly receiving questions from singers regarding the subject of vibrato; people wanting to change theirs, add more, make it less, etc…
So, I thought it would be good to write a blog on vibrato to address some of these issues.
First of all, what is vibrato?
“Vibrato is a musical effect consisting of a regular pulsating change of pitch. It is used to add expression to vocal and instrumental music. Vibrato is typically characterized in terms of two factors: the amount of pitch variation (“extent of vibrato”) and speed with which the pitch is varied (“rate of vibrato”).”- from Wikipedia
Please read the full explanation on vibrato from Wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vibrato.
Your vibrato is a direct result of the release of tension in your voice. If your voice is free of muscular tension, you should have a natural lovely vibrato, not too strong or too slight. Vocal tension though, can cause your vibrato to be off in two extremes: out of control fast and heavy, which can lead to a warbled pitch or a speedy flutter, or sometimes when pressing on the larynx unnaturally, your vibrato can be stifled and repressed causing a straight, often flat, tone.
Good healthy singing is what you as a singer need to focus on. As a result you will find your natural vibrato.
There are different styles that then lend themselves to varying degrees of vibrato as well. On one end of the spectrum is early music classical singing. In this style, very little vibrato is preferred, and singers sing it with a straighter tone, which they manipulate to do so. On the other hand, in Romantic Opera the vibrato is rampate, but hopefully not overpowering. Both of these sounds can be effected or manipulated, but it is ideal to sing the style in which your voice naturally lends itself so that your voice remains healthy and pliable. So for example if you are born with a naturally straight-ish vibrato, Verdi may not be for you.
I often have people writing me asking me how their vibrato can be like some other voices that they like.
Everyone has their own natural healthy vibrato. To sing like someone else would not be healthy for you. You, of course, can mimic another sound, but that is a skill of impersonation as opposed to great singing.
Sing well, sing true!
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Written by Ariella Vaccarino creator of Voice Lessons To Go (singing lessons on CD) and author of Vocalize!
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