What is “Vibrato” for singing and why does it matter?
A true natural vibrato is the “final resting place” of resonance for a strongly supported, whole tone, “relaxing” into a state of oscillation, creating maximum resonance.
There are many debates as to whether the oscillation of vibrato should be above the whole tone or below it.
This author is a firm believer the the oscillation must be “below” the whole tone since its purpose and function is a relaxation response. Going above the whole tone would not promote a relaxation response.
Vibrato is a very personalized “signature” for the voice.
And there are many different types of Vibrato.
It also can be a key to determine the health of one’s voice.
And/or it also may be used as an “effect” for different styles and types of singing.
As we explore how to become a better singer, vibrato plays an important role in the resonance of the voice.
Let’s first explore the different types of Vibrato for singing.
1) Diaphragmatic vibrato is characterized by diaphragmatic pulsating during a sustained tone. This type of vocalizing generally produces a tremolo effect which is not healthy and hard to get away from, once it has been embedded. The breath should flow evenly and not be subject to a “pulse” of the diaphragm. This is usually heard from the “herculean” roles of a big tenor or a big soprano role.
2) A Vocal Trill vibrato is often taught through through vocal training of matching pitch to the ones played either on piano or guitar usually in a half or full step toggles from the original pitch, to a half step and back again. This can result into a “Wobble” which becomes very wide and slow and directly affects absolute pitch. Its oscillation is slower than a healthy vibrato, which has much less pitch differentiation.
3) The Laryngeal vibrato, or being manipulated from the larynx (voice box) is also not a good idea since the voice box should stay stable while singing. Its task should not be to manipulate vibrato. This is often referred to as “Gospel Jaw” or “Jaw Vibrato” where the jaw moves up and down. This can be witnessed in singers such as Whitney Houston or Steve Perry.
4) Caprino vibrato in Italian means goat-like (wiggle) or “little goat.” This is a fast and nervous-sounding vibrato. Many artists have made this sound famous such as Stevie Nicks or Manhatten Transfer (with a quick “horn stab” sound)
5) A “Tremolo” vibrato has a faster oscillatory rate and is usually “wider” than a natural vibrato. Artists such as Aaron Neville have made this sound famous.
6) A “Natural” vibrato is where one can hold a note and “relax” into a state of oscillation. It also provides for greater volume when singing without adding pressure (resonance).
Some believe that vibrato just “happens naturally” and requires no vocal training. This author does not believe that. In order to become a better singer, everything we do with our voice, if we are looking to do it correctly, requires vocal training.
So whether one is looking to increase vocal range, learn better vibrato, and more, it is a good idea to get with a quality vocal coach and get competent vocal lessons on your journey to great singing!
Ken Tamplin Vocal Academy – Where The PROOF Is In The Singing!
Watch this 30 second before and after video of a student who took the course for only one year:
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