You may have observed that singers use a handful of singing techniques during a performance.  Now let’s pull out one of their tricks out of the hat and analyze it – let’s discuss the vibrato.  This vocal technique is particularly associated with or used in classical singing lessons.   Although pop and jazz singers have also used the vibrato in certain portions of their songs.


What Is A Vibrato?

According to Wikipedia, a vibrato ’is a musical effect consisting of a regular, pulsating change of pitch.’  Other techniques associated with a vibrato include ‘fluctuations of a pitch’, ‘a warble’, ‘a wobble’ or ‘a tremolo-like effect.’  When you hear a singer’s voice slightly changing pitch while sustaining a certain note at a particular part of a song, he/she is singing with a vibrato.  This pitch fluctuation sounds like a very faint tremble of the voice.


The Vibrato Effect

A song becomes truly meaningful to a listener when it is sung with emotion. A singer can express emotions through the ebbs and flows of his voice.  The vibrato is a way of enunciating emotions through the sound and tone of the voice. The vibrato produces a warm and calming effect.  It enriches and enhances certain parts of a song.


More Vibrato = Better Singer?

Students of classical singing lessons have somehow imbibed this belief that a classical singer should extensively use the vibrato. Singers of other genres also fall into the trap, believing a vibrato would make your voice sound better.  Hence, you think it makes you a better singer.  As a result, vocalists do a vibrato overkill.  In the use of the vibrato, ‘less is more.’  The vibrato effect works best when it is only applied to particular parts of the song to enhance its overall sound.  Too much vibrato could override the real essence and emotion of the voice and the song.


How Does Vibrato Happen?

A vibrato happens naturally as a result of strong foundation and proper execution of vocal breathing techniques. The development of a vibrato goes hand-in-hand with good and healthy voice development. In classical singing or even for other contemporary music genres, you may want to learn the techniques of executing a good vibrato.

However, the focal point of the lesson is always about solidifying your vocal placement, tone, and power.  Proper body posture and alignment, relaxation, and breath control all have to be in place.   When all these are present, a vibrato naturally comes out of your voice. Somehow, you also instinctively apply it to specific parts of the song as the emotion calls for it.  The result is a sincere and polished performance.


Using the Vibrato

In singing, you always want to make a good impression.  You add those ‘whistles and bells.’ thinking of it as a way to level-up your performance.  You may have the tendency to think that learning the vibrato is the be-all and end-all of classical singing lessons. Such is not the case.  Get to the core of your vocal power. Tap into your emotions. Release. Let it go, let it flow.  The fruit of this discipline is a sweet, flowing and effortless vibrato.

It is very easy to damage one’s vocal chords. Unless you are taking classical singing lessons, it would be wise to keep your vibrato to a minimum when singing classical music to avoid mistakes. If you are planning on being a professional singer, it would be best to take up formal lessons. When you choose to study classical singing, your teachers will definitely give you all the things you need to know in order to effectively and safely use the vibrato.