Entries tagged with “vibrato”.


So last time, we looked at several examples of fake vibrato and listened to them, so this time, I would like to share with you just a few examples of good “natural” vibrato and explain why people use it.

First, looking at an example from Opera. When people sing opera, they have trained their voices to sing over the sound of an orchestra, and although I don’t care too much for the large vibrato sound of an operatic voice, I admire their ability and understand why they do it. The reason they use such large vibrato, is because without it, they would be wearing out the vocal chords very quickly. Vibrato gives vocal chords a momentary relaxation. So if someone is singing loudly for 2 hours, they must have some kind of respite for their vocal chords.

Here is an example of a person with a naturally small voice, using her vibrato to make her voice larger and more easily heard, when needed.

Example #1 Kathleen Battle–Ombra Mai Fu

I love her voice because although she has a good bit of vibrato, she also has a very clear tone and terrific control.

For a non-operatic voice, using vibrato correctly, let’s look at another favorite soprano voice. She has more of a broadway voice, pure, and only using vibrato at times.

Example #2 Sissel–Lær Meg Å Kjenne

Now for a man’s voice, let’s use Josh Groban as our typical classical/pop example.

Example #3 Josh Groban–“Remember When It Rained”

How about a little Buble? A little more jazzy, a little less vibrato, but a great sound.

Example #4 Michael Buble–Come Fly with Me

Example #5 And the legendary Bruce Springsteen…A voice that has lasted him beautifully.

There are many others, but those are just a few who use their natural vibrato.

The Imposter.

This post is in two parts. In this first part, I’d like to show you a few examples of famous singers using a false kind of vibrato. I’ll also explain the “why” behind them.

To really understand vibrato, you have to know that vibrato is a good thing. Through the pitch undulation (vibrato), we are able to give our vocal chords moments to relax. If there was only a straight tone with no vibrato, this would wear the vocal chords quickly and they would tire out and the singer would then go flat much faster. This is why opera singers use it. Many times, they are having to sing loudly over an orchestra, so the way to do this most efficiently is to use vibrato. This is not to say that only opera singers use it.

That being said, the first examples comes from two “child prodigies.” Many child singers, because they do not always have much natural vibrato or don’t know how to use it, they are taught to use artificial vibrato.

Example #1–Jackie Evancho “Time to say Goodbye”

Does she have an amazing voice? Yes. There is no question about that. However, if you’ll notice, her jaw is moving up and down whenever she holds a note. When using this type of artificial vibrato, it comes from tension within the jaw. The lower jaw is connected with sympathetic muscles connected to the vocal chords and throat. This makes it a bit harder to control tone (as heard by her last high note at the end) and does not have as nice a sound overall.

Example #2–Charlotte Church “Ave Maria”

Another beautiful voice, but as you can see, there is much “false vibrato” being employed. During her early career, there was much debate amongst vocalists as to the constant wear on Church’s vocal chords due to the high and intense nature of her songs, and the amount of singing she did for her not yet fully matured voice. In this instance, although the vibrato was from a tense jaw, and in essence, her overall sound was not as pleasing, it was probably essential for her to continue to singing.

Example #3–Church’s Natural Vibrato (mostly) “Actors”

It seems like Church has made a mostly happy vibrato transition, but there are still some of those bad vibrato habits left over from before.

Example #4–Ruth Lorenzo “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”

There are many things to pick apart from this example, but let’s just look at the vibrato. It is rarely used, and when it is used, it is fast, false, and uncontrolled, coming from an already strained voice. This fast vibrato is her voice’s way of saying “STOP SINGING LIKE THAT!” The singer is trying to sound like Janice Joplin (I think) by singing loudly and in a very raspy tone. This is not a good idea. This type of singing is very damaging to vocal chords. (On a side note: Her problem mainly seems to lie in her lack of breath support and refusal to use her head voice. She is pushing her chest voice too high and thus straining her voice. If you don’t have the proper breath support, it’s hard to get the power you need and the ability to relax at the same time so that vibrato is even possible.)

Stay tuned for my some of my examples of “good vibrato” coming very soon!