“…musical effect consisting of a regular, pulsating change of pitch. It is used to add expression to vocal and instrumental music.”
In simpler terms, it is the rapid oscillation between two pitches. Vocal vibrato is used a lot today in music and is found in pretty much every song to add style. There is no doubt that vibrato is a cool stylistic thing to add to your singing abilities.
Vibrato, for some people, is a natural talent and it comes very easily to them, sometimes without them trying. However, what about those of you who can’t develop it so easily? It’s in no way something that’s easily or developed or easily accessible. However, if you practice enough and work at it for about 20 minutes a day, you will improve this technique by miles. Practice definitely makes perfect! Lucky for those of you who want to develop this fun and useful technique, I’ve found an awesome video that will help you go straight on your way to developing this helpful and fun singing technique.
The video I’m using today for this YouTube cut-up is from Charmaine Brown Vocal Studios. Charmaine has a lot of videos about singing techniques and how to use them, but this video focuses mainly on how to develop vibrato and how to practice using a vocal exercise.
The first thing Charmaine talks about is how this is a common question, on how to develop this technique. She gives you the first example as to what it sounds like at 14 seconds. She also explains, like stated above, that vibrato is the rapid oscillation between pitches.
At 33 seconds, Charmaine shows you what it’s like to oscillate between two pitches slowly, and then faster and faster until she’s using her vibrato technique.
She says that it needs strength and flexibility in the vocal cords. You need enough compression and vocal cord closure so you can create the rapid oscillating movement through strength. However, you can’t be too tense because you lose the flexibility to move fluidly between notes. It sounds hard, but with enough practice, you can find the right balance of relaxation and compression to develop this singing technique.
At 1:14, she gives you an example of an exercise you can do in different ranges, keys, etc. to increase your ability to use vibrato. She also suggests that you use it in different vowel sounds like “oo” and “ah”. Charmaine says that once you’re comfortable, you can start speeding it up. The overall goal is to gain so much strength that your oscillation starts to spin and sounds like you’re floating.
At 2:37, she explains that this skill is the result of healthy vocal technique. It will take time to develop it and it’s something you have to work at.
Below is the full video of Charmaine’s tips on how to develop vibrato! If you would like to check out Charmaine Brown’s second video on vibrato, go to her YouTube page to learn how to use this skill in actual songs.