THE FOLLOWING CHAPTER IS FROM
THE "BORN TO SING" INSTRUCTION BOOK
BY AUSTIN & HOWARD
Produced by MusicWorld & the Vocal Power School
is the pulse or wave in a sustained tone that gives the voice a professional
sound. The ability to control your sustained tone with or without vibrato
is extremely important for any vocal style. Although vibrato is a musical
effect commonly taught in the study of string instruments and most wind
instruments, it has rarely been explored in depth in voice training.
The following quotes, from individuals who should know better, show an amusing variety of misinformation and lack of clear knowledge concerning vibrato for singing.
"Only opera singers need vibrato."Even the Harvard Dictionary of Music states that "among singers, there exists ... uncertainty as to what vibrato means" and refers to the "singer's use of it without being aware of doing so." This lack of awareness extends to some people who have said, "You can't teach vibrato" or "I plant the seed in your subconscious ... every lesson, I water the seed."
A string player, such as a violinist or guitarist, creates the vibrato by pressing down on the string with the finger in a rapid back and forth motion. This motion causes the string to lengthen and shorten alternately, producing a slight fluctuation in pitch. A quicker back and forth motion produces a faster vibrato and a slower motion produces a slower vibrato. The player with control can choose the vibrato speed and where to use it, according to his or her artistic taste. A wind player, such as a flutist or clarinetist produces vibrato by fluctuating the air pressure, sending it through the instrument in a pulsing or wave-like motion. This may be controlled with the lips, throat anchor abdominal muscles.
For The Singer
we can identify
three types of vocal vibrato:
Cord Vibrato (Not recommended for most singing)
Vibrato (Not recommended for most singing)
Throat vibrato could be rapid and narrow or slow and wide. It is heard in almost any style, but it's most frequently used in the Pop field. Many Jazz and Blues singers use throat vibrato to imitate instrumental style. Even though many Pop singers use throat vibrato, it should be used with discretion, if at all. Many singers use throat vibrato in combination with diaphragmatic vibrato.
Abdominal Vibrato (Recommended)
The diaphragmatic vibrato is produced by pulsations activated by the abdominal muscles, while keeping firm support. The pulses cause the air to flow through the vocal cords in a wave-like motion, creating a slight fluctuation in pitch and volume. Using this method, you can control the speed and/or width of your vibrato. With diaphragmatic vibrato, you experience "singing on the breath" - a free-flowing vocal tone that requires no muscular constriction in the throat.
The type of vibrato you use is your individual, artistic choice that depends on your musical material and personal style. However, we recommend diaphragmatic vibrato because it is consistent with good support and it helps release undesireable throat tension. Such tension could flat your pitch or tire your voice or destroy the "quality" of your sound. Some singers have a style that is easily recognized by the uniqueness of their vibrato. It can even be their trademark. But surprisingly few singers, even professionals, are aware of how they produce their vibrato. Many teachers and singers alike claim that the vibrato is natural. However, no one is bom with a vibrato. If not learned from a teacher, it is learned by imitating other singers. You should be able to recognize the various types of vibrato used by artists in all areas of vocal music. For example, R&B (Rhythm & Blues) singers, in general, use a slower vibrato than Opera singers. Jazz singers imitate the many vibrato styles of jazz instruments like the trumpet, sax, flute and guitar. Pop singers, in general, use vibrato more sparingly than Classical singers, often beginning a sustained tone with no vibrato (straight tone), leading into the vibrato. Vibrato speed may vary from one song to another and also within a song, changing with the emotional expression. Usually, a slower vibrato is used in a slower song find a faster vibrato in a faster song. Speeding up the vibrato as you sustain a tone increases the energy and intensity of the sound and emotion. The ability to control your vibrato gives you many more options in creating your own style.
The straight tone is a sustained note without vibrato. In Pop music it is an integral part of vocal expression and emotional coloration. Melodic lines of quarter notes or shorter duration are almost always straight tones. In Pop music, a sustained note often begins with a straight tone that moves gradually into a vibrato. This is called delayed vibrato ( ———^^^^ ). Very rarely, if ever, would a tone begin with vibrato, then become a straight tone. But since anything is possible in the realm of artistic interpretation, it is conceivable. The straight tone has been used from the beginning of vocal music. It can be heard in Early music such as the Gregorian chant of the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance period by composers such as Palestrina and Josquin des Prez. Straight tone and delayed vibrato are common to the Baroque style as in the music of Landi and Monteverdi and in the late Romantic period as in the music of Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner. Straight tone and delayed vibrato are found in the music of some 20th century composers such as Alban Berg, Anton Webern and Arnold Schenberg.
1. Using the exclamation, "Hey!", send out an easy "shout-like" sound, as if calling to someone across a crowded room. Strive for a balance in the out and down sensation of the support muscles with good focus and forward placement. Don't push! Listen for the ring and feel the buzz.You should feel subtle pulses within the abdominal area as a slight but definite outward action (not pulling up and in). Keep your rib cage up and open. Don't let it collapse down with the pulses. The abdominal muscles should maintain a gentle firmness, not rigid and not bouncing. The vibrato pulses are created by the abdominal muscles other than the support muscles. Don't close the throat or vocal cords to end a sustained tone. End the sound using the last vibrato pulse. Make it
sound as though it vanished into thin air and not clipped, coughed or choked off. Keep the pulses even. Keep your jaw relaxed and flexible. You can also use a hiss (s s s s s) or "shhh" sound instead of the "Hey!" to practice the vibrato. Alternating between pulsing the hiss and pulsing
the vocal sound is an effective way of developing your vibrato control.
3. Now increase the number of pulses (If you have a metronome, use it to help keep the pulses even):
9 pulses: s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s, He-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-ey!
DEMONSTRATION & SING-A-LONGS EXERCISES IN VIDEO AND CDs
4. At first, choose a medium pitch and a medium volumeso that you will more easily be able to feel the support. Asyou progress, try other variations ... high notes, low notes, loud, soft. Check with your finger tips to make sure you're not bouncing the support muscles. Keep your rib cage up and open. Try not to let the pitch vary or wobble. Think of the vibrato as ripples on the surface of a flowing stream of sound.
6. Using the hisses as a preparation, three times in a row,
9. Now let's use delayed vibrato, that is, a straight tone followed by pulses on each sustained note. Use a single vowel "ah" or "eh", first loud, then soft, and feel the pulses as sixteenth notes on the last 2 beats of each measure.Work on speeding up and slowing down the vibrato rate, keeping a smooth, gradual flow with even pulses. In
performance, you would not count pulses, but as a practice technique, this is an excellent way of perfecting your
control. A singer with diaphragmatic vibrato control can design the vibrato speed to the desired emotional energy
level and create wonderful musical effects. Understand that mastering the vibrato may take time and patience,
but the professional sound you achieve is well worth it.
Again, in some vocal styles, the "ee" sound at the end of "my" (mah/ee) could be pronounced "ih" (as in him) to soften the sound. The "oo" at the end of "now" (N/aa/oo) may be softened to "uu" (as in wood).
For example, the word "my"
sustained or held would be sung like this - M/ah/ih - and the word "Now"
1. Choose a single pitch; using the words on this list, sustain the first vowel sound and tag on the second vowel sound with the consonant on the end of the final vibrato pulse. The final consonant is pronounced just after the final pulse of vibrato.
(Hard) Hah - - - - - - - - - ahrdHowever, in Country Western music, it may be appropriate to sustain the "R". Also, you often hear Pop singers sustaining other consonants such as "L", "M", and "N".
Vibrato is used in all or most Classical singing, but prior to 1700, the pure straight tone was preferred. The straight tone in singing was characteristic of Renaissance music and earlier works such as the Gregorian Chant. These works are still performed in that manner today. Approaching the nineteenth century, the vocal repertoire of the Romantic period began to reflect more emotional realism (Verismo), as in the operas Pagliacci, Caualleria Rusticana and La Boheme. Vibrato became popular as a sensual enhancement of the vocal sound and became the throb in the heartbeat of Romantic style. It is inconceivable that an aria by Verdi or Puccini would be performed without vibrato. In Opera, the type of vibrato varies from one culture to another.
slightly wider and slower vibrato is more typical of the Italian style
of singing, compared to the faster and narrower vibrato of the French and
German style. Opera singers of the German style, especially when
interpreting the operas of Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss, often use
a straight tone, moving into a quick, narrow vibrato. The effect is a piercing,
intense quality, well suited to the heroic roles of the late 19th century
and early 20th century German Opera. Wagner wrote for the voice as if it
were one of the instruments in the total musical fabric.
Because of the tremendous size of the orchestra used in some of his works, the vibrato described above, coupled with a big voice, became necessary for projection. This use of the vibrato assisted the singer in penetrating and soaring above the orchestra. Great Wagnerian opera stars today still use this vibrato technique.
more rapid vocal cord vibrato is typical of the contemporary style of the
French chanteuse or cabaret singer, such as Edith Piaf. The Flamenco singer
of Spain, as well as many of the Middle Eastern singers also use a fast
vocal cord vibrato. Most Pop singers use a slower diaphragmatic or throat
vibrato and sometimes a combination of both. Some modern Pop singers, particularly
in Rock music, mostly in up tempo songs, use little or no vibrato.
The straight tone, used intermittently
with a very slow and somewhat wide vibrato, is typical of the Japanese
fully developed material is available in "Born To Sing" courses (CDs, tapes,
videos & books) Produced by MusicWorld & the Vocal Power School
- Howard Austin, Director mailto:VocalCoach@BornToSing.com
**COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Copyright 1985-Current - Austin & Howard - All rights reserved. The material presented here is a gift to you, intended for your personal use and enjoyment. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means including, but not limited to electronic, mechanical, photographic, recording or information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.
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