MASTERING VIBRATO

Learn how to control timing, beautify your voice, and allow your voice to sing freely without any excess tension.

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Because the ultimate vibrato consists of five to seven waves or oscillations per second, each oscillation requires a half-step. Anything wider (like a whole step), sounds more like a warble or tremolo which sounds like an aged and labored voice.

Listening to singers that Brett has trained like Keith Urban, Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift, You hear a common thread in all of their voices: a well-mastered and controlled vibrato.

Good vibrato beautifies the voice and even sets the mixed voice free from excess tension. Bad vibrato kills musical careers. In this course, the singer learns to control the rate and depth of oscillation for each musical style.

“I developed the Singing Success Program after 30+ years of coaching. I’ve put my whole life into researching vocal techniques, studying anatomy, and (through trial and error) building a method that is sustainable and that gets results.

Comprehensive Guide To Building A Powerful And Controlled Vibrato

Many pop singers are under the assumption that vibrato is for classical music, or for Broadway or oldies singers. But, this is completely untrue! In fact, without a controlled vibrato, you open yourself up to vocal fatigue and injury.

When you can master different types of vibrato like the “wobbly” or “machine gun” vibrato, you open up your voice to explore different genres and styles that you otherwise have been unable to sing. Vibrato is a necessary coordination that you need if you want to sing with a good tone and style.

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Learning Vibrato Singing

By Brett Manning

First off, let me start by saying that in 2004 I completed and released a groundbreaking program which was the only one of its kind (that I know of) titled “Mastering Vibrato” as part of my Singing Success mastery series.

Also, vibrato is the MOST underrated technical tool of all singers. It’s of the few qualities that will immediately define a singer as a serious pro or an underdeveloped beginner.

A Primer Defining Vibrato

Defining vibrato singing is a little ominous because to understand vibrato, we have to understand several things: what it is, how it’s made, why we should use it WHEN we should use it, and….what kinds of vibrato are used.

Natural Vibrato vs. Trained vibrato

To understand this, I must first let you know that anyone can learn vibrato, and any good voice teacher can teach vibrato. But teaching vibrato is multi-factorial. Many singers can do it without thinking. Some can’t stop using vibrato, and many singers get accused of having a fake vibrato.

So, is there a ‘true vibrato’ that singers must learn, find, or just be born with? How much does vibrato singing affect the quality of the voice?

Does singing vibrato sometimes ruin a song? Is there a specific (or multiple) singing technique that encourages the vocal cords to produce vibrato naturally?

What is Vibrato?

Although it can be assumed that most people know what vibrato is when they hear it, the proper definition can be broken down into these 12 bullet points.

Vibrato is:

  • An oscillation or alternation between two pitches and two pressure creates a tonal variation in a note. Typically this oscillation or ‘note bend’ raises slightly above the pitch one-half step to a whole step, but not precisely. Sometimes a singer’s vibrato will bend slightly above and below in pitch variation.
  • Some argue that the best vibrato is less than a half-step (1/4 step) variation in pitch and often sounds like a pulse on the same pitch. Mostly, I agree.
  • The oscillation or bending of a pitch is typically smooth and feels good to the ears of the listener. Too choppy of an oscillation sounds like a billy goat or a machine gun, although these sounds can be temporarily employed to produce vibrato more rapidly. The rapid oscillation of notes is called a tremolo. This is often a result of excess tension, and many singers, unfortunately, have this unpleasant quality.
  • There’s tremendous disagreement about tremolo being fast or slow, but the one defining quality is an over-compressed voice that has a wider interval. Usually, a whole step to a minor 3rd (1 and a half step) interval. Also, in guitar (think the original “Crimson and Clover), tremolo is a rapid increase and decrease of volume. Some singing teachers see tremolo as the same as with guitar.
  • Too slow of vibrato is an oscillation or variation of pitch that can be obtrusive and make a voice sound labored, old, deteriorated, and wobbly. This is known as a wobble, or in an uneven or pitchy and uncontrolled sense, it’s also known as a warble. Usually, 3 or 4 oscillations per second and, in extremely damaged voices, 2 per second.
  • Singers should seek to produce vibrato at a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 7 oscillations per second. However, six is considered perfection to most listeners.
  • Some singers have obnoxious vibratos, and… they’re either hated or adored for their distinctive sound.
  • Some Singers sound like they’re producing vibrato after learning a ton of vibrato techniques and yet sound fake. The goal is to ‘sound’ like you have natural vibrato, even though vibrato singing isn’t always natural.
  • Many famous singers use vibrato as part of their vocal style and may speed up and slow down in the middle of a song or in accordance with the tempo of the song.
  • Vibrato frees up excess tension from the vocal folds and often can happen without using particular vibrato exercises, but rather is a symptom of good vocal technique.
  • A well-produced vibrato serves to ‘tune’ the voice to the desired pitch. In fact, perfect vibrato singing can often get you accused of having a perfect pitch. That is not the worst thing you can hear from a critic. (more about this in my history of singing)
  • Vibrato singing is a HUGE part of style, trills, licks, runs, and phrasing. This supplies energy to the singing voice and brings confidence immediately.

My History of Singing Vibrato

In my own singing, I had a supposed ‘natural vibrato’ as a little kid singing Elvis Presley songs. Still, I was made fun of for doing that ‘shaky vocal thing’ even though most people who heard me at my 6th-grade talent show at age 11 said that I sounded just like Elvis and had the gift of imitation—or what I later learned—impersonation.

My own revelation came when my college girlfriend was making fun of me for singing in an exaggerated vibrato in a duet we were preparing to sing for a church ‘special’.

The original singer had a total Vegas nightclub sound. He’s since passed away. Gone way too soon. But the charm of his baritone voice has stuck with me.

My girlfriend was a little over critical and, coming from a pop/indie music appreciation and couldn’t stand any obvious vibrato singing. This made me very self-conscious since I was a new singer, and she was the first person to criticize me for singing vibrato. 🤕

She was partly right, but perhaps ridicule wasn’t the best method of teaching. This is one reason I’ve chosen to teach singing using subtle correction blended with rich encouragement. Singers often feel vulnerable about their voices, and any early ridicule or criticism can cause them to shut down immediately. Clearly, I got over it 😉

The best thing is I started down a path of studying the best and most natural vibrato that voice teachers had to offer until my own vibrato sound was pleasant to my own ears, peers, and my coaches.

Learning from Role Models

Sometimes the good vocal technique is simply impersonating singers with good vibrato technique without doing a day of vocal exercises. But this is rare, and bad habits are typically outlived by wise methodology, smart vocal technique, and proper vocal exercises.

Learning Vibrato From Teaching Experience, Colleagues, and Mentors

I’ve been able to achieve 6 oscillations per second (as Pavarotti would say, “after 20 years, of course, “…😉 ) and use a more consistent vibrato as a result of a more efficient technique, studying voice over my lifetime, teaching 10’s of 1000’s of hours and innovating while teaching vibrato to those who chronically sang with a straight tone production.

Singing in the Studio After Producing and Mastering Vibrato

So there’s a song I’d written titled “The One” back before I produced Mastering Vibrato

Writing this program was something that didn’t happen overnight. I labored for YEARS and kept arduous notes, experimenting with my own coaches and singers who had stubbornly straight or obnoxiously wobbly voices. Anyone who had trouble singing vibrato and who’d given up. My rate of success (another reason why my program and company are titled ‘Singing Success’) was extraordinary and pleasantly surprising.

A huge side benefit: my own singing, especially my approach to singing vibrato, got better every day. So by the time I’d finished the recording and mixing of my Mastering Vibrato voice exercises—with the extreme demand of having to demonstrate the right and wrong approach—my own singing was far more vibrant and controlled, and my trills became much more smooth.

However, what I wasn’t expecting would show up soon after when I went in to record vocals for “The One.” I was merely doing a scratch vocal (scratch vocals are meant as a ‘throw away’ guide vocal to build the musical productions, i.e. instrumental arrangements around), and this very experience, award nominated producer, looked at me confused after ONE take.

https://music.apple.com/us/album/all-in-your-mind-ep/1548098453

I still remember his shocked expression when he looked at me and said, “are you kidding? No one sings this perfectly”. He told me that my pitch, expression, dynamics, emotion, and overall performance were immaculate and that we could have used this ‘one take’ as the final vocal if we’d used a better microphone. Now I actually wanted to sing vibrato with newfound confidence.

My revelation was met with equal elation and celebration when I realized that Mastering Vibrato was ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL to building a professional tone.

But we all must find our role models and inspirations.

Famous Female Vibrato Singers

The following is a brief analysis of singers with notable styles of vibrato. They are all appreciated by most, despised by some, and misunderstood by a lot of us.

Beyonce, Jewel, Dolly Parton, Ariana Grande, Whitney Houston, Christina Aguilera, Linda Ronstadt, and Faith Hill.

Beyonce- today’s iconic yet controversial diva, has been studying voice for many years with some of my colleagues who share a common ideology with me. So it’s not surprising that her balanced cord closure, buttery smooth mix, effortless transition, and runs are concomitant—naturally accompanying or associated—with her historically coveted vibrato.

When you hear her slight up to a note while changing the rate or speed of her oscillations, you realize that she has control of her real singing voice. Also, her trills are naturally fast because her natural vibrato is fast. Sometimes she uses a vocal trill vibrato which is a highly advanced stylistic approach to singing vibrato.

Beyonce’s pronounced vibrato singing voice has what the old masters used to call a ‘floating’ quality. In my studio, we help singers find this ‘floating’ singing quality.

Jewel- is known for exceptionally emotional, captivating sound. She sold 13 million on her first record! And though this was a 90’s musical style, she’s continued to double down on her overall ‘street musician’ sound. She uses a looser, more deliberate, and exaggerated approach to singing vibrato.

She broke a lot of conventional rules by slowing down the speed of oscillation to produce a ‘vibrato effect’ on her style. It was ALL style and had nothing to do with trying to have perfect voice technique, especially in her head voice.

While people accuse Jewel of having a vocal wobble, she could easily produce a much faster, beautiful vibrato—natural and free—almost as if she had many singing lessons.

Sometimes Jewel would produce a slow vibrato like a guitar or blues-style violin vibrato for the effect of a slow vocal trill, as in The Cowboy Lament. If you think she can’t sing any other way, you need to listen to the recording below. ⬇️ ⬇️

Two singers known for extremes with their vibrato managed to blend transcendently in this glorious duet! Jewel adapts the speed of her vibrato to the legendary Dolly Parton. I confess I’m choking up listening to this while typing. 😢 Enjoy!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TYepdbTIog

Dolly Parton- The most famous ‘fast vibrato voice’ should be understood as the one who sang with a natural vibrato. Dolly’s tiny stature is easily a marker of a light, thin tone. The other natural effect is an extremely rapid vibrato that almost no one can reproduce.

This is a huge part of her Tennessee Smokey Mountain style. There is very little thickness to her tone production. Instead, because she accepts her small voice and doesn’t try to sing heavily or with a slow vibrato, she gives us the vulnerable sound that has made her a legend.

Also, the oscillation in her vibrato is the smallest wave possible. Almost like she grew up on a farm, a learned vibrato-like sound from baby lamb or billy goat. 😎

Ariana Grande- The gold standard in unobtrusive, smooth, constant, and energetic vibrato. Some argue she’s almost too perfect and therefore lacks personality in her music. I don’t think her record sales reflect this presupposition.

The above-described vibrato is what she exemplifies: 5 to 7 oscillations per second with remarkable smoothness. She is indeed a master. And she’s safe for singers to imitate.

Furthermore, Ariana uses an easily mixed voice that allows her a ‘floating’ feeling to her natural vibrato.

Whitney Houston- Who is known as the first of the modern trinity of Divas—Mariah, Celine, and Whitney—had the strongest voice of the three singers. The problem with this characteristic was that if you hold a straight tone too long, the voice adds too much weight, and damage quickly ensues.

Whitney suffered repeated damage to her vocal folds and multiple surgeries. Towards the last decade of her tragically short life, you could literally hear the damage on her vocal cords. Could this have been avoided? Possibly, there was substance abuse and far too much chest voice in her tone, causing her to produce ‘jaw’ vibrato.

She would shake with a rapid jaw movement at the end of sustained notes in order to free up the vocal strain. Fortunately, she had just enough natural vibrato and fast trills and runs to free up her sound and extend her career.

Had Whitney lightened up her tone—just slightly—and learned to produce vibrato as a by-product, a balance between air pressure and precision in the closure of her vocal chords, she would have kept vocal range. Her chest voice was enough on already.

I’m sure all of us would enjoy the type of career she had, and it’s easy to criticize the great singers while taking endless voice lessons, perfecting our instruments, like a man polishing the brass on his glorious ship and then never sailing it.

Whitney’s vocal success was because she’s on the top trinity of diva singers, immensely gifted above her competition, and a stylistic genius. Yet she still lost her voice.

This is why we all need coaching to achieve vocal balance in all our vocal registers. This will keep the vocal cords healthy and make developing vibrato-less of a task and more of an allowed quality.

Christina Aguilera- Vocal coaches everywhere have different opinions about this explosively powerful voice. I’ve probably been… 😬 a little too critical of Christina’s excessive approach to singing vibrato, as well as her overall singing with the excessive runs that give little space for the original melody to be established.

HOWEVER….. Christina fans will simply NOT be talked out of enjoying her singing, and many singers I’ve trained will continue singing with vibrato in the same manner Christina does. And so they should.

But just like Whitney, this is a heavier, brassier voice, and she can often push to the edge of what would be 99 muscle usage and extreme discomfort for the rest of us. But only about 70% for Christina. This is why I usually say, “Choose your mentors wisely.”

Linda Ronstadt— In 1976, Linda was at the top of her game with her mega-hit “You’re No Good” and a string of hit songs across several decades and multiple genres.

Linda’s blend of folk, rock, blues, and pop has made her a legend. In 1983 she took on a much more difficult task of singing in a head voice-dominated sound for the cinema version of the Broadway/Musical theater production “Pirates of Penzance. I was shocked when I saw her versatility in what is closer to classical music than folk rock.

Then, she went out on a limb—against her record label’s advice—and recorded an all-Spanish record, which became the best-selling Spanish record in U.S. history.

If you want a real deep dive into one singer’s vibrato adapting through multiple genres, Study Linda Ronstadt. But realized that she needed to develop a stronger connection between her head voice and chest voice.

Finally, Linda’s vibrato really must be heard to be understood. It’s like describing Christopher Walken’s acting. You can’t describe it. You just have to see or hear it.

Faith Hill- is one of the best-selling female artists of all time. And her vibrato and the energy it gave to her incredible, powerful, and aggressive voice are largely to blame.

She also had that Julia Roberts je ne sais quoi. Which is French for “I don’t know what.” It was her presence that was largely responsible for her stardom, but virtually every budding country singer I knew wished they had the control that she had over her vibrato.

Faith Hill’s gospel remake of “Walking On” is a great example of a lightening fast vibrato used to speed up her trills and add energy to a song. When her vibrato begins, it gives a lot of release to her high notes and breathes life into the song.

Conversely, Faith’s smash hit “Just Breathe” demonstrated the emoting vocal trill vibrato on her low notes. This tone has the characteristics of a diaphragmatic vibrato, which adds effect to this lyric based on Breathing.

*Side note: Faith’s breathy tones and head voice give us this impression as well. She sings in her head voice and falsetto for the effect of a breathy dominance in her tone.

How To Prepare To Sing Vibrato

First, realize you don’t have to sing with vibrato on every word or even every phrase. Less makes it more special. So don’t get it in your head that you must sing vibrato throughout your entire song.

Voice training from a qualified instructor and/or a good systematic program is needed to prepare the voice. Vibrato singing in every section of voice. Improved muscle development.

You have to have healthy lungs, vocal cords, AND a healthy vocal tract (the space above the larynx—where the vocal cords are located—that amplifies the sound. This includes the throat, mouth, and nasal cavity).

If the vocal tract is scarred or unhealthy, it’s most likely from inflammation which distorts and narrows the passage ways where sound is amplified.

The reason for this is that all parts of the voice— respirator, vibrator, and resonator—are essential to maximizing vocal efficiency, and the weak link will hold the rest of the voice back. For example:

Vocal Folds or Cords

Because this is part of the voice producing the initial sound, any swelling or scarring of the tissue can make cause the voice to lack quality and coordination. The cords affect pitch and vocal range as well.

If there’s excess tension in the voice, the vibrato will lack the freedom that often ‘allows’ for free pitch and tension variation/oscillation.

The lack of using vibrato affects the cords. So developing vibrato—even if it’s just a slower diaphragmatic vibrato, to begin with—is a great way to relieve tension from the cords.

Respirator or Lungs

The diaphragm is the essential muscle for Breathing. Located under the lungs in the shape of a dome, this thin muscle contracts to pull the lungs downward to expand the lungs and ‘allow’ more air, which is used to initiate phonation or vibration of the vocal cords.

The assertion ‘take a breath is somewhat flawed. You create a vacuum or space by pressing the diaphragm down, and the atmospheric compression, which is 14.7 lbs per square inch, causes the air to fill that space.

So, you’ll breathe in a much more relaxed manner when you begin to think of allowing a breath rather than taking one.

How To Start Singing with Vibrato

True vibrato doesn’t require facial tension. You need a relaxed starting position. Neither should vibrato in singing feel painful.

Cordal Manufactured Vibrato Voice

Often a person can feel the start of vibrato in singing by singing a simple half-step trill back and forth. If it’s difficult to feel the bounce of vibrato, try using a whole step. Start with 2 a second, then 3, then 4 trills per second.

Though this method of learning vibrato feels overtly deliberate and even fake, you’ll begin to feel freedom in your vocal cords.

Then you’re off to the next approach. Remember, whatever works to get it started is fine.

Diaphragmatic Vibrato

Like a flag waving in the wind is the air blowing across the cords, allowing a free vibrato effect as the most effortless method to develop vibrato.

If you think of panting really fast and then add tone, you may experiment with this unnatural vibrato sensation. It is NOT this finished product and NOT a true vibrato. But anything you can do to feel that sensation is better than singing a straight tone on every note for the rest of your life.

Think about woodwind instruments for a second. The only way you’re going to get vibrato out of a clarinet or saxophone is to feel this rapid alternation in air pressure coming from a ‘panting’ sensation in the diaphragm.

Try saying the the word ‘sheeeee’ on on every note of a legato (connected) descending 5 tone scale. Notice how each sustained note has a variation of freedom and perhaps some effortless vibrato?

The reason most experience inconsistency throughout their vocal range is that the tension in the vocal folds will vary from pitch to pitch because the speed of the vibration (not the same as vibrato) of vocal folds is increased as you ascend the scale.

This is one reason it can be tricky finding vibrato on higher notes. There is an erroneous philosophy of pushing for higher notes, rather than coordinating the vocal cords into the formation necessary to achieve the pitch.

This is isn’t hard. We often find that singing high notes is easier than singing low notes or mid range. This is due to the sensation of ‘dampening’ or ‘zipping’ up of the vocal cords. A technique that has made mix voice, whistle voice and many other ear grabbing qualities possible. And…. this is what has made my Singing Success programs international best sellers.

Avoid the ‘Gospel Jaw Vibrato’ When Struggling With Vibrato

Whitney Houston was the most notorious for using this technique. The term ‘gospel jaw’ came about because gospel music is extremely expressive, so the movement of the body and shaking the jaw was a method to delineate runs, trill, and vocal licks more definitively.

But, the vibrato effect is not the same as the vibrato effect. In other words, many people think that producing vibrato on a sustained note is the way to drop excess tension.

The problem? Instead of producing a ‘true vibrato’, which is allowed through tricks and techniques, (yes…. I said tricks… because you have to be surprised or tricked into certain coordination), singers will shake their jaw in order to sing vibrato since they know that great singers use vibrato.

So they take the effect as the cause. And while sometimes this can help—a with many of my ‘tricky’ exercises—this often ignores the problem and is not a good singing technique.

In fact, the vocal will distort. For example “oh” becomes “oh-Woah-oh-whoah” but is fast enough to sound like vibrato. But the end result is a created weakness.

What Exercise Best Produces Vibrato?

Lip rolls, lip trills, tongue trills are all exercises that create vibrato due to the dynamic or variation in cord tension.

These exercises produce true vibrato because the nervous system feels the effect of the exercise on the vocal cords.

I often take singers up on an octave tongue trill (not everyone can do a tongue trill, but I have many other similar exercises)and have them release the trill into an ‘oo’ on the top note. The muscle memory kicks in and there’s very little effort used initiate vibrato.

Also plosive exercises like and octave arpeggios, repeating 4x on the top note, on the work goo or koo and sustaining on the 4th time. These exercises are designed to sneak up on the voice to ‘find’ rather than ‘force’ vibrato.

What Causes Real Vibrato When Singing?

Voice switching between 2 different muscles tensions, 2 different pitches. a sense of letting go and great technique that uses the minimum natural muscle tension.

How To Turn Off Vibrato

When you sing with vibrato, don’t fall into the trap that far too many opera singers fall into and sing with too much vibrato! How much is too much? Let’s just say this…. vibrato on every note!!!! That’s not even good classical singing.

Listen to legendary opera singers like Pavarotti on “Una Furtiva Lagrima”, a song I’ve coached countless singers through and, to their shock, they found Pavarotti to be extremely prudent as to which notes would get vibrato and which notes didn’t need it.

So, how do you maintain control of your vocal folds on not ‘let them’ oscillate? Especially when you sing with vibrato on every note.

Years ago, way before Skype, before the internet…. I was asked to give my mother’s friend a lesson over the phone and she literally wobbled on every note she sang. But I was tough on this lady….and she thanked me for it. Results were immediate.

How did I get her to STOP IT?? 🛑

I made her talk! It was that easy. We don’t speak in fluent vibrato voice. But we suppose that singing should be much different. This is the charm of popular music. It’s less of a vocal exercise and more of a conversation.

Speech Level…. according to maestro Seth Riggs. Speech like according to the listeners and producers who understand the phenomena of commercial music.

So let’s get into it a little more. If you say the word “I am a robot” in the spirit of an onomatopoeia.

Onomatopoeia is the process of creating a word that phonetically imitates, resembles, or suggests the sound that it describes. Such a word itself is also called an onomatopoeia. Common onomatopoeias include animal noises such as barkmeow (or miaow), roar, and chirp. Or common plosive sounds like bam, smack, crack, pop, pow.

So if you say “I am a robot”, you should sound like a robot. Straight tone, monotone. This what I call a 2-for exercise. You get 2 benefits from one exercise. You learn to sing without vibrato, while learning to lock on to a pitch.

When To Use Vibrato

The most common application of vibrato is any sustained notes. Especially notes held for a long time. There are tons of exceptions that I’ll mention in this section.

As you listen to R&B singers, often they’ll pop into a high note—almost like an emotional outburst—and the rapidly sung vibrato on the note gives the tone, the voice and the song, tremendous energy.

Also, certain licks and trills can actually resemble vibrato and trills: blended. And as mentioned before, singing vibrato rapidly actually speeds us the trills and hypes up the listener.

Also, we should almost NEVER sing vibrato on low notes. The vocal cords have far too much slack and the voice will inevitably wobble from the laboriously slow oscillation in pitch. Even if you sing vibrato perfect on low notes, if often just sounds obtrusive.

Some case studies

The following examples are here to give you what I call ‘transcendent’ examples. You don’t have to agree, but this can at least give you a reference point with examples to learn vibrato application to a song, which is the heart of the matter.

The Great Eva Cassidy

For myself, I’ve always thought that Eva Cassidy was the greatest modern master at singing sustained notes clearly and pristinely and then, without any vocal wobble, jaw vibrato or unhealthy vocal tension, she’s shows off perfect vibrato technique.

Two great reference songs to learn is her renditions of “Autumn Leaves” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. Learning her brilliant usage of vibrato as a paint brush will transform your own approach to singing.

A 13 Year Old Gives Us a Master Class

In her very first phrase, this up-and-coming phenom elicits the same reaction from EVERYBODY. They are instantly captivated by sweet, flowing buttery vibrato. The problem in mentioning this is that I’ve not yet released—at this current—the blog titled:

The 5-second rule

An energetic, effortless and non-obtrusive vibrato can be THE deciding factor that reels a singer in. Watch for the big reveal as we launch the 5 second rule series on our Tik Tok and Instagram pages.

Mariah, the Modern Day Diva

The greatest thing about Mariah’s tone in her early, vocally healthy days, was how much matchless quality she possessed on her high notes. The vibrato is what increases the freedom in the ears as a result of what I call the ‘unstrained epic’ quality of high notes.

Mariah’s ‘O Holy Night’ might be called one of the greatest recordings of all time, Mariah opens of her high mixed voice with what is the perfect blend of vocal cord compression and release.

This ability to let go would NOT be present without vibrato on the high note. This is one strong quality that differentiated her approach to singing.

Andrea Bocelli and His Wrong Headed Critics

Andrea Bocelli has a sort of breathy, sometimes shaky, diaphragmatic vibrato on his low notes. But is this a vocal fault, a weakness in his vocal cords or just weak chest voice?

I think it’s none of these. It’s his transcendent charm that he using to draw us in. Clearly his mix has tremendous strength (even though he’s a very light or lyric tenor) and ear grabbing resonance.

Even more, the health of his vocal cords shouldn’t be called into question. It’s like his diversity in tones nearly made him into a pop singer. Often, he’d sing with a slight rasp. But he was discerning as to how much, in order to preserve his pristine voice.

If you listen to the oscillation of Bocelli’s vibrato, it’s a very narrow wave and sounds more like a pulse with very little pitch variation. When he goes up into his high notes, there’s an almost classical or operatic approach to his vibrato. This is where he draws criticism.

If you’re a trained opera singer, you have certain expectations. But Bocelli blended multiple styles and kept his honest approach in spite of criticism.

Remember this, years ago, even Pavarotti—the greatest opera singer of our time—had 47,000 dislikes on his epic version of Nessun Dorma. But the millions of likes far outweigh those that will never be happy with PET: perfection, expression, and transcendence.

Why Is It Hard To Sing Vibrato?

slight pitch variation. the velocity between the two pitches and then oscilliating in tight range requires muscle control, training and practice. might have poor instruction and need a more experienced voice training system.

Is Vibrato Natural or Learned?

Both. In combination. While there are singers who open their mouths the first time and vibrato happens, most times this isn’t true.

Young children will actually ‘try’ to shake their voice in imitate singers that they enjoy, without cognizantly realizing that they are learning technique through listening.

As mentioned above, some singers may have to struggle for years to find the freedom that vibrato brings to the voice. BUT….. it can be taught and learned.

Is Vibrato Good in Singing?

This is a question that requires extreme nuance. Many singers ignore their vibrato, due to stylistic influences, while other singers tend to think that all musical tones require vibrato.

Any great singer—as mentioned above—can serve as a paradigm. Avoid the common tendency of “out-singing” them by adding more vibrato and vocal trills, runs and dynamics than the masters.

Why Don’t I Have Vibrato When I Sing?

Until reading this blog, it’s possible you’ve not known how vibrato is created or that it can be learned.

Also, you may have been criticized too much for learning how to sing. Undue criticism creates fear. Fear creates tension and hesitation.

You may have vocal dysfunction that requires vocal therapy. In fact, MANY stars that I’ve had the pleasure of working with have had a ton of vocal therapy. (See my blog on vocal health)

Vocal damage, allergies, reflux, shallow Breathing, or—most commonly— good ole fashioned laryngitis will prevent your vocal cords from vibrating freely.

Singing Success- Mastering Vibrato

If you’re serious about your singing, try out my groundbreaking program, “Mastering Vibrato,” and you’ll experience immediate results.

But also, a great singer always has a great vocal coach. We are thrilled to have every client that walks through our doors or studies via Skype and is dedicated to walking with you in your journey to find “Singing Success”