Singing Vibrato

singingmastermind image for singing vibrato bird
I get asked a lot about how to sing with a vibrato, so I thought I would answer that question with some of my readers’ questions and my answers that I’ve collected.

Maybe I should do a video about this.  What do you think?  The more you let me know what you want, the better I can help you.  Leave your comments, suggestions or questions in the comments box below this post.

Q:

  • “What is vibrato?”

It’s a natural process of a balance between breath support and vocal cord adduction (vocal cords closed for making speech or singing sounds). Hard to teach with written words but at least you can start thinking about it.

It’s a natural process of a balance between breath support and vocal cord adduction (vocal cords closed for making speech or singing sounds). Hard to teach with written words but at least you can start thinking about it…and be sure to utilize the resources on my website!

Q:

  • “Joy, how do I do tremolo? I’m getting this bad habit of naturally trying to make it, since I can’t ….only forceful…so I use my diaphragm, which is bad massively bad…What muscles in my voice do I contract so make that volume go up and down for that tremolo effect, with no loss in pitch?”

Tremolo? Do you mean vibrato? Vibrato happens naturally as you learn to balance your breath when you sing. Not sure what you mean by the last part of your question. Volume doesn’t really have anything to do with vibrato. Breath control does though. Have you worked with my breathing exercises yet?

Q:

  • “Balancing –  would that not make your voice just be plain, as in just one loooong note? just that sort of waving/wobbly touch…not in a bad way.”

Vibrato, when it’s natural, gives the voice a rich full sound (I think what you mean by “waving/wobbly touch…not in a bad way.”) So yes, balancing the breath will help this process.

Q:

  • “…yes tremolo and vibrato for instruments as well are where the confusion comes in…I hear this rapid swell and diminishing of volume and that’s what tremolo is…. most singers can use it liberally I can’t find the technique and it sometimes happens when I loosen my diaphragm…it’s that really professional technique, but not hard to do, once you know how I suppose, say you sing a plain not, then add this wobbling to it, tremolo/vibrato thats what I don’t get how to do…I’ve come a long way since I posted this on general singing since I am beginner, I can sing songs that nearly killed my throat from exhaustion and strain….still should start on these exercises though…well puffed out.”

Forced vibrato doesn’t work well. It adds an unnatural sound to the voice. Keep working on the breath support and you’ll continue to improve.

Q:

  • “I am a high tenor, and I have a clean sound. but unfortunatley very little vibrato. I was told not to move the jaw or use the stomach to make vibrato, but unless I hold a note for a while, I get little vibrato if any. What can I do?”

Have you tried singing softly and slowly on your back with your eyes closed? If not, give it a go and feel what happens.

Q:

  • “What if I don’t feel the vibrato in my nose? Or near my nose area?”

It is important to get the sound waves into the bony structure of your head. I suggest doing some very slow 3-5 tone scale patterns on “aw” so that you can get deeper into the inner sense of what’s happening with your voice. This all has to do with resonance.

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