View Full Version : How to Vibrato (Beginner's Guide)

03-28-2008, 12:36 PM
Vibrato adds a touch of class to your voice everytime you switch it on... Controlling the vibrato is one of the best feelings you can have.

When vibrato is flowing effortlessly in your voice it means that something good is happening. Vibrato is a sign of good vocal technique. Plus it sounds fudging fantastic!

The chances are that once you master your singing vibrato, you will be able to connect with all areas of your voice, low and high. And your voice will most likely sound very balanced as well.

So where does vibrato come from, and how can you develop an effortless vibrato?

Vibrato happens when your voice shifts quickly between two pitches. So if you were to sing a middle C, and then a C# and then a C again, followed by a C# followed by a C, you would be singing with vibrato. All in one breath that is.

The key to a great vibrato is the speed in which you change between the two pitches. When you practice vibrato enough, youíll be able to control the speed. Slow down if you want, speed up etc..

(Below is taken from a website, I donít have the link anymore though.)

Let's Do An Exercise To Get Your Singing Vibrato Happening!

Here is a simple exercise that will allow you to see what singing vibrato feels like. Please understand that this is not a finished sound. It's an exaggerated version that will later be honed into something more usable.
Here's how to do the exercise.
1. Place your hands at the bottom of your chest and feel where your ribs come together in the middle. Now move your hands slightly below this point. (it's the soft area a few centermeters above your belly button)
2. Now sing a note on one pitch in your easy range. Any note will do.
3. As you're singing this note, push in gently with your hands. The key is to push in, then pull out, and push in, then pull out and so on. Try doing this at a rate of around 3 to 4 cycles a second.
Listen to how your voice wavers in a singing vibrato like fashion.
Now it probably sounds a little exaggerated at this point, but this exercise is just to get things going.

04-06-2008, 05:05 PM
Breathe all the way down from your ankles, like filling a glass of water, the water is filled from the bottom up, not the top down.

And now drop that jaw, and relax the throat, really relax it. Move your head SLOWLY from side to side if that helps. Now push the air out like you're yawning, or sneezing, or throwing up. But you don't want to push it all out at once. Instead you're using that force but blowing it out in a controlled fashion, as if through a straw.

That's a lot to remember, so I'd say leave your throat out of the equation. Just sing from your belly and keep that throat relaxed. If you push hard enough from the stomach, your voice will start to get a natural spin to it. That's the force of the air on your vocal cords. :)

04-19-2008, 04:52 PM
I hate to sound like a "know it all" but the C to C# comment isn't exactly true, or at least not in accordance with my music teacher. Apparently it's still singing one note, but hovering both slightly sharp and slightly flat of it, but not so much that it's off-pitch. So with a C, you'd sing the C, then alternate up and down slightly below C# and slightly above a B, never touching the C# or the B fully.

*throws 2 cents into a tin can*

04-20-2008, 03:56 PM
Yeah, spinning the voice so much that it would go a full half-step would sound very strange. I don't think spin has to be worried about so much though. If everything else is being done right, a nice natural spin will just happen. Then once you have experience you can control it a bit more.

I can't stress enough how much the guidance of a proper voice teacher is needed if a singer wants to truly progress.

04-20-2008, 04:49 PM
Vibrato has always been one of those nebulous topics for me. Unlike alot of people i dont' have vibrato naturally so, I have to really train myself to sing with it.

I had a voice teacher who pushed on my abdomen to try to help me learn to do vibrato. The key is to have good air support in your voice.

What about the singers who tend to move their jaw or use their vocal chords to make the variance in pitch? Is their technique wrong?

04-22-2008, 09:53 PM
What about the singers who tend to move their jaw or use their vocal chords to make the variance in pitch? Is their technique wrong?

In a perfect world, you shouldn't move your jaw unless you need it for a consonant or to open wider to make room for higher notes.

Vibrato comes from your larynx moving rocking back and forth ever so slightly, so nothing at all should be moving, or at least visibly moving. But in order for you to keep on-pitch with vibrato, you need a good foundation of breath support and breath control.

04-23-2008, 07:00 AM
Your jaw should not be moving when you vibrato.

04-23-2008, 12:37 PM
Your jaw should not be moving when you vibrato.

I just mention it because sometimes you see professional singers doing it.

04-23-2008, 12:40 PM
I just mention it because sometimes you see professional singers doing it.

Like Whitney Houston!

04-25-2008, 03:29 PM
I just mention it because sometimes you see professional singers doing it.

Don't pick up their bad habbits.

05-01-2008, 10:06 AM
Maybe I should've elaborated on the Moving the Jaw comment and vibrato. The reason you don't want to move your jaw when you vibrato is because it puts a lot of pressure on the muscles under your chin. Those mucles ( the ones under the chin) are connected to the muscles that make your larynx move up adn down.

Now, the comments about Whitney Houston. She does 2 types of vibrato. moving her jaw, and using her diaphragm. She grew up using vibrato with her jaw, and it is a recognized bad habbit. She has been criticized heavily because of it. But she also does a perfect vibrato without moving her jaw at all (sometimes..). When you don't move your jaw, it forces you to use the correct breath control, and allows you to control all aspects of it. Speed etc... I remember seeing a live version of Whitney singing "Run to you", and seeing a live version of Leona Lewis singing "Run to you". Leona Lewis stole the song simply because of her vibrato. Whiteny's vibrato in that live version was extremely fast, (she was moving her jaw to vibrato), but Leona Lewis's version was perfect. They had the same tone, project, and range, the only difference was the vibrato.. Which is why imo, Leona did the better version.

Never substitute proper technique for anything.

05-01-2008, 10:13 AM
Also, to add on...

No one is born with vibrato. All vibrato is manufactured. Thats why there are a TON of great sounding singers with no vibrato. They haven't worked on it yet.

You can be born with a beautiful singing voice, but you aren't born with vibrato.

05-01-2008, 12:39 PM
Idk maybe you can say nobody is born with vibrato, but there are those people who naturally produce vibrato without trying. Some people the vibrato just comes very easily to them. My dad for example sings with vibrato, he never took lessons or practiced singing, he just has it. If you try to get him to sing without it he can't.

05-01-2008, 02:01 PM
Thats great that your dad can vibrato and not need practice!

Everyones vibrato happens differently, some have it easy, some don't. On Oahu, I met a guy who just started singing. Less then 6 months, and he had one of the most beautiful vibrato's I had ever heard... Then there was me, practicing everyday for the past year (on only vibrato) and I still couldn't do it to save my life.

Some people just have to work waaaaaaay less then others to get it. But they do have to work.

And with vibrato, technically, you can vibrato when you can control the speed. If you're doing a vibrato that sounds great, but you're not controlling it, by all means keep doing that. Because eventually you will be able to control the speed to your liking.

After you learn how to adjust the pitch, you want to aim for CONTROL.

Anyway, it is wat it is yo!

And its not me saying this... This comes from several books I have. I'm sure you can google most of the stuff I say too btw..

05-02-2008, 01:56 AM
I agree, I don't think much about vibrato one way or the other, but I can control it without a great deal of thought about it. The million other things that I have to think about tend to result in a spin that's natural and can be increased or decreased.

But I think this is one of those things that is best tackled with good ole fashion lessons, because there's no replacement once you mess up your vocal chords. You'd be surprised how the advanced stuff falls into place when you work on the basics. It's not a sexy answer, it doesn't solve anything, but there ya go.

My voice teacher always talked about writing a book and I wish she had. Best teacher ever.

05-16-2008, 11:27 PM
all this posts is about trying to vibrato?

brah, too much tinking going on. i go give you da best advice. my tutu told me this one about vibrato back when i was keiki yet.

"just shake da damn ting."