Messing with vibrato

Vocal Style: Messing with vibrato

In the first of a three part iSing series on Vocal Style where we demonstrate the different uses of various vocal style nuances and techniques, Josh Alamu looks at vibrato.

So what is vibrato? Vibrato (as defined by Wikipedia) is a musical effect consisting of a regular, pulsating change of pitch. It is used to add expression to vocal and instrumental music. Vibrato is typically characterised in terms of two factors: the amount of pitch variation (“extent of vibrato”) and the speed with which the pitch is varied (“rate of vibrato”).

Put simply, vibrato is one of the most colourful and warm finishing touches you can use when singing. When used skilfully it can sound magnificent.

Try these ideas in your songs and assess how much vocal choice and expression they add to your vocal delivery. Make sure you warm up and perform these forms of expression healthily and then warm down afterwards. If in doubt, consult a good vocal coach for guidance.

Check out this video in which the amazing Wyclef Jean uses a seriously messy vibrato.

911 ft. Mary J. Blige: Wyclef Jean

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Joshua Alamu is a professional voice coach with over 15 years experience as a singing teacher in the music and television industry. He has been a voice coach for the TV talent show The Voice UK and is currently vocal coach stars such as Fleur East, Little Mix and JP Cooper. Joshua’s video-enhanced vocal style course Mad About Vocal Style part 1 was launched in 2014 to rave reviews. Joshua is also the co-founder of Ultimate Artists, the UK’s most in-demand artist development camp (eight days of music industry mentorship and artist development).