Vibrato

January 24, 2018

Do you think you have too much or too little vibrato? Maybe you are not sure what vibrato is.

Vibrato occurs naturally in a voice when the voice production is free. 

Vibrato is when you sing a pitch and there is a slight weaving of frequencies above and below the

pitch your are singing. When a voice is free of extra pressure and push there will be vibrato

It can make your sound beautiful, attractive and is the bearer of much thrill to the listeners.

When the vibrato is out of balance it can do the opposite and compromise the beauty 

of a voice.

 

Vibrato can be:

1) Too fast, sheep-like sound.

2) To big, with a large amplitude above and below the pitch that is sung.

     This is also called a wobble. More common among singer who sing heavy repertoire such as 

     Wagner and Verdi and older voices.

3) Absent when someone decides to lead the voice in a "straight" tone or 

    when the voice is to restricted and not free enough for the vibrato to occur.

    Singers choose to sing with straight tone mostly when they sing old music and sacred music.

 

Do you know about your vibrato? A good way to find out is to record yourself and 

focus on your vibrato. You can also listen to different vibratos of different singers.

That will train your ear and you find out which vibrato you find pleasant. 

 

If you want to work on your vibrato because you think that it takes away from the beauty 

of your voice here are some tips:

1) Too fast, sheep sound

Anker your voice more in the body. That can mean many things. 

For one find a good connection between your abdominal muscles and your breath.

For that you can lie on the floor and lift both legs until you feel your abdominal muscles and muscles around your hip engaging. Take a breath as low as you can and make a sound from 

there. You will find that it ankers your voice and changes the vibrato.

Another great point to focus on is to lean into your sternum, where you collar bones are,

when you attack the sound. By leaning I mean open the chest area and 

imagine you can lean against your sternum from the inside. Apply gentle pressure and start

the phrase there. You will feel more stability. You can also remedy a vibrato that is 

out of balance with using correct vowels and applying them in scales and other exercises.

There is a property to each vowel sound. This needs in depth study and also guidance.

But as a general note the OOH vowel as in moon can be helpful to work on vibrato issues.

2) Too big, a wobble

A voice that has developed a vibrato that sounds like a big wobble needs to pay 

attention to it immediately. It is more often than not a sign of having overused the chords

and attacked the sound with too much breath pressure. The vocal chords can get worn out 

and lose elasticity. However with correct training you can get much of it or all of 

it back. It can be extremely helpful to work with straight tone singing for a while 

and really concentrate on the center of the pitch. Many singers love

their vibrato and "produce" it instead of it being the result of a free vocal production.

That is not a healthy habit because it is artificially induced by pressing on the vocal mechanism.

A person with a worn out vibrato needs to look closely at any habits of pushing and holding

patterns. It is important to do this with a teacher because it can be difficult to get rid 

of on your own. If you don't have the possibility to take lessons start with using straight tone 

singing and concentrate on the flow from one syllable to the next. Do not emphasizing one syllable over the other or apply pressure on the vocal mechanism. Another really good tool is to put your forefinger and middlefinger on your throat where the adamsapple is located. If you find that there is a lot of vibration on your throat then you need to work on setting the sound higher in the head.

You should have little to no vibration on your throat. ( check out "Enunciation" in the blog )

3) Straight tone singing

It is completely fine to sing this way however some singers would like to have a vibrato and 

don't know how to get to it. Those can work on freeing their voice, really singing

on your support system, the belly and the breath flow. If you hold and lead too much then 

the sound will not vibrate freely and vibrato will not occur. However straight tone singing

can be very beautiful and if that is your preference and choice there is nothing wrong with it.

 

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