What is vibrato

What is vibrato

Vibrato in the voice is a periodic change in pitch, intensity, volume and timbre of a sound. In singers, vibrato is caused by fluctuations in air pressure, similar to that of wind instruments. Vibrato on stringed instruments is created by vibrating the strings with your fingers.

What role does vibrato play in singing? Vibrato in vocals serves as an embellishment, adding warmth and creating a personal tone. When a singer uses vibrato, the sound becomes smoother and more expressive. The difference lies in the vibration frequency and amplitude of the sound wave.

Types of vibrato

The vibrato effect can be true or false. False vibrato occurs when the larynx vibrates, while correct vibrato occurs in the resonator. The performer can control the vibrato, stopping it at any time, as well as changing the amplitude or pitch of the sound. A calm vibrato indicates freedom of the vocal organs, correct singing and breathing.

How to sing with vibrato? If a vocalist does not have natural vibrato, this can be developed through exercises that relieve tension in the larynx. Vocal schools usually don’t teach vibrato directly. Good teachers know that when the sound is correctly placed and based on the breath, vibrato will automatically appear in the resonator. Developing vibrato is not as difficult as it might seem.

Difference between vibrato, trill, vibration and tremolo

Some vocal teachers do not differentiate between vibrato, trill, tremolo and vibration, and may teach a completely different technique instead of proper vocal vibrato.


The trill is often associated with a “goat bleat” due to the sharp and fast sound. This technique often occurs due to the inability to breathe properly and distribute air evenly, causing it to disperse.


Vibration is the deflection of a note in different directions, in which the sound exceeds the pitch. This may be the result of an underdeveloped musical ear and poor ability to control breathing.


Tremolo is technically similar to sound vibration, but has a higher speed. This technique is caused by excessive pressure in the larynx, which causes tension at the base of the tongue.

It is important to know!

The vibrato technique relieves tension on the vocal cords by freely pulsating in the larynx.

How to do vibrato in your voice

The most effective way to learn vibrato is to start at a slow tempo and then gradually increase its speed. To better understand this process, you can visualize it: imagine the note as a ball that you push down, and then it returns back by inertia. Push slowly at first and then gradually increase the speed.

Another useful technique for mastering vibrato is to use your body to help “shake up” the sound with up and down movements. There are also a few words that can help you master vibrato faster. One of them is “defensive capability”.

Diaphragm function and proper breathing

Place your fingertips on your solar plexus and say a simple syllable or vowel sound, such as “A.” Try to make the sound calmly and evenly, with moderate volume. At the same time, press your fingers on your stomach 3-4 times per second.

The work of the larynx

The larynx is a muscle that controls air pressure, and the ligaments are also muscles. As with any physical activity, if you don’t remember the correct technique, it will be difficult to repeat the exercise in the future.

To learn vibrato, do the following exercise:

  1. Place your finger on the larynx (for women) or on the Adam’s apple (for men);
  2. Pronounce a syllable that you have practiced before;
  3. Move your finger up and down 3-4 times per second.

Remember not to put too much pressure on your throat!


Simple chants with the correct tessitura will help you master vibrato in singing. Start with a few semitones. If you have trouble hearing music, start singing slowly and gradually increase the tempo. If your intonation is fine, you can immediately start at medium speed.

Correct posture and breathing

The body position when performing exercises should be free. It is best to stand up straight with your arms at your side or on your diaphragm to feel your breath. For stability, your feet should be shoulder-width apart and you should stand on your full feet, not on your toes.

Once you have learned to breathe correctly, you can sit down, but in this case it is important not to lean forward or backward or lean on the back of the chair. Shoulders should be down. When inhaling, do not lift them to ensure sufficient air volume in the lungs. You should breathe with your stomach and diaphragm. You don’t need to contract your shoulder blades excessively, but you also shouldn’t slouch.

The simple rules of breathing can be summarized as follows: inhale quickly – pause – exhale slowly. The inhalation should be quick, quiet and almost imperceptible. As you exhale, you can imagine that you are blowing out a candle: release the air smoothly, evenly and slowly. When inhaling, the chest should expand, not rise, the ribs seem to open to the sides, and air enters the abdominal cavity.

How to develop vibrato in your voice?

It is absolutely necessary to continue training. Learning should become a daily habit. To properly master vocal technique, it is recommended to enroll in a vocal school.

  1. Spend at least half an hour a day at home on technique and breathing exercises. At first, your mouth and tongue may get tired quickly, and your neck may hurt, but over time you will learn to avoid tension in the muscles;
  2. Spend at least half an hour a day at home on technique and breathing exercises. At first, your mouth and tongue may get tired quickly, and your neck may hurt, but over time you will learn to avoid tension in the muscles;
  3. Find the backing track of the song you want to perform. Record your voice;
  4. Listen to the recording to evaluate whether you are hitting the notes. You may need to choose a different song if the current one doesn’t suit your tone. Neck pain may indicate that you are trying to sing in a key that is uncomfortable for you.

Recommendations for vocal exercises to develop vibrato in the voice

For those who want to learn how to sing correctly, here are some simple vocal exercises:

  1. Vowel sounds. As you exhale, chant “A-O-U-I-E-Y-A-E-I-U” in any order. Make sure that your voice does not become lower or higher, and do not interrupt your singing with rapid breathing. Record yourself to ensure the sound is stable;
  2. Scales. Sing the scale “do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-si-do”, and then in reverse order. Pay attention to the correct pronunciation of notes and try to sing as accurately as possible. When you hit the notes you will get a resonance effect;
  3. Cuckoo. Take a few deep breaths and then make a loud “cuckoo” sound as you exhale to develop your voice and tone;
  4. Wolf. The exercise is similar to the previous one, but instead of a short sound, make a long “oo-oo-oo-oo” on a high note, stretching the sound as much as possible;
  5. Vowels and scales. Sing the vowel sounds in strict order: “I-E-A-O-U.” Do this with short pronunciations, switching from high volume to low volume. Then repeat in reverse order.

After doing these exercises, your voice will become clearer and muscle tension will decrease. Now you can practice singing your favorite song. Here are some exercises you can do while standing:

  • Mentally straighten your spine, moving your gaze along each vertebra;
  • Run your palm over your stomach, causing vibration for a few seconds;
  • As you exhale, pronounce the syllable “ha”, pushing with the anterior abdominal wall;
  • Lightly purse your lips and, as you exhale, make a “mmmm” sound, feeling a slight vibration on your lips;
  • Imagine a vibrating sound coming from the depths, gradually rising and vibrating on the lips;
  • Relax your lips and imitate the “br-br” sound of an engine running, while relaxing the muscles in your throat, face, neck and jaw to increase the vibration. Do yawning exercises;
  • The sound resonator of the head is a cavity in the upper part of the face, the paranasal cavity. When you feel vibration in your nose, this is a sign that the resonator is working;
  • The term “mask sing” means to resonate at the top of the face, as if you were wearing a carnival mask;
  • The chest cavity resonator is the chest cavity that amplifies sound.

In general, your entire body is a resonator, so it is important to learn to feel the vibration of your entire body and imagine that it is full of sound and vibration.

Removing the clamp in the larynx

It is necessary to relax the muscles of the larynx so that the sound is light and free. To do this, you should perform several exercises.

We all know how to “sing on a yawn” to make the sound more rounded:

  • Yawn, but keep your mouth closed, as if you were yawning in front of people in a boring or stuffy room. The lips are closed, the lower jaw is lowered, the soft palate is raised, the nostrils are dilated;
  • In this position, silently say O-U-E-A, trying not to change articulation and monitor the position of the jaw – do not push it forward. The lips are closed and the teeth are open, the distance between the teeth is two fingers. The throat should be wide open;
  • Add a sound as you exhale, making a round “O” and “E”. Place your palms on your lips and check the smoothness of the sound;
  • Control the air flow so that it comes out evenly, calmly and slowly;
  • Complicate the movement by adding vibration with the diaphragm – slight twitching, in which the anterior wall of the abdomen protrudes.

To develop freedom of the larynx, imagine that you have a hot potato or a blooming flower in your mouth. These exercises will help beginning vocalists develop vibrato in their voice. Do them regularly and you will notice an improvement in your voice. Good luck!

Free registration

Register for free and get one project for free