Develop Your Vibrato with
Useful Vocal Exercises and
The Vibrato intrigues many listeners, singers as well as singing students, and is usually a rather advanced singing technique to acquire and train for! It usually refers to how a singer produces rapid pitch variations in his or her voice when sustaining a single note or word.
Most vocal instructors would prefer not to work on this aspect of singing with beginners, and would leave it till the student has acquired other basics of singing before embarking on this topic for training.
The Vibrato sounds best when at the end of a phrase or the last syllable of a sentence, and it symbolises a certain kind of confidence as well as vocal ability if the performer is able to do it well!
The simplest way to simulate a Vibrato would be to locate the area between the lowest ribs of your rib cage, somewhere in the certain of your torso. This is a soft and vulnerable area of your body which affects your breathing stability.
Now, just sustain a single note using a simple ‘Ah’ vowel, and by gently pressing that vulnerable area in the centre of your torso inwards a number of times, you will be able to ‘create’ a vibrato while sustaining the note that you are singing.
You can vary the speed of the pitch variations you produce by pressing quickly or slowly, and experiment with the kinds of sounds that you can sing using this method.
Of course, this method is only an artificial method, and there are a number of natural ways to create your own rapid pitch variations in singing:
1) Using Your Diaphragm… Breathe…
In the simple method described above, we are able to affect the stability of your voice by pressing the soft centre of your torso. The way it works is that it forces more air across your vocal cords and creates variations in volume, producing a similar effect to a ‘vibrating’ sound.
By using your Diaphragm to vary rapidly the amount of air that goes across your vocal cords, we are able to create vibrations in dynamics in our voice when singing! Certain simple breathing exercises will be able to teach you how to achieve greater control over your diaphragm and your breathing in order to be able to do this well.
2) Controlling Your Pitch.. Up and Down..
Our Vibrato is actually defined as rapid pitch variations when singing, and so if we are able to vary our pitch quickly, we will be able to achieve the desired effect.
This method is usually referred to as controlling our pitch variations with our vocal cords , as we usually feel our voice box rising and falling when we use this method of varying our singing pitch. It is usually employed by singers from an earlier era, for example Elvis Presley or classic Mandarin Singers like Yu Tian or Wan Fang.
You can try to achieve this by sustaining a single note on an ‘Ah’ vowel, and gently vary the pitch of the note that you produce, bringing it up and down slightly as you sing it. Usually, our pitch variations should not exceed ONE semitone higher or lower otherwise the sound that we produce will be overly vibrating and will not sound so great.
3) Releasing Your Vocals!
This is the most natural way of creating the rapid pitch variations we need, and it requires us to release all sensation of our vocal cords and voice box, and to stabilise our voice at one vocal position.
Once we are able to truly release our vocals and to support our voice well with our breath, we will find that the sound we produce will naturally be gently vibrating in pitch, and this will be our most natural singing sound!
We should feel as though our voice is vibrating without us consciously controlling it, unlike the previous method where we intentionally vary the pitch of our singing by controlling the movement of our voice box.
Acquiring a good Vibrato sound usually takes some time and lots of practice, and will certainly require the guidance of an experienced vocal coach who would be able to help you to develop the voice that you want, without allowing you to acquire any bad vocal habits or singing problems along the way!
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