Improving Your Singing: Transitioning to Vibrato

When you sing, you can choose to create tone that has variation in pitch (vibrato) or not (straight tone). Absolutely nothing is wrong with straight tone singing, as long as that’s your choice. Your choir director may have asked you to sing straight tones when performing some styles of music.

Many people sing with straight tones because they have too much tension in their neck or throat. You don’t have to squeeze in your throat to create straight tone — actually, just the opposite is true. You need to keep the throat open for a tone with or without vibrato.

Listen to a song where the singer moves from straight tone to vibrato. Then you try it. Sing a tone that has vibrato, and then sing a tone that has no vibrato. Now try starting the tone without vibrato and sliding into a tone with vibrato. As the vibrato begins, you feel something release and the movement of the vibrato begin.

It’s not a huge difference; it’s subtle. Try this several times in a row to feel the difference. If you still aren’t sure which sound you’re making, try whining, which is usually made with a straight tone. Listen to the sound when you whine your way through part of a song, and then open up and really sing.

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