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Singer's Blog by Jeannie Deva

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contemporary vocalist singing technique
  1. Pulse Vibrato is achieved through changes in the volume of the note. The rapid interruptions of the tone that create the wavering effect are caused by increases and decreases in volume, not pitch. This type of vibrato is stylistically appropriate for rock, pop and some R&B. The speed tends to be moderate, but will vary with the personal style of the artist. Many of these artists will use a combination of straight tone as well as pulse vibrato.
  2. Contemporary Pitch Change Vibrato starts on the sustained note and moves a quarter tone down in pitch and then back up to the original pitch. The speed used is usually fast or moderate. More often, jazz, funk, blues, soul, Gospel, R&B and some pop singers use this type of vibrato.
  3. Classical Pitch Change Vibrato starts on the melody note and moves from a quarter tone to a whole tone up and back to the original pitch. It can be slow or fast. As its name implies, it’s used in classical, opera, pop-opera (“popera”) and some musical theater.


  1. Sandy on August 5, 2014 at 11:50 AM said:
    What is the difference between these types of vibrato and tremolo? Which ones come naturally and automatically? I notice that vibrato/tremolo seems to slow in much older singers, to the point where it can be painful to hear. The other day I attended a revival of “Brigadoon;” the degree of classical vibrato in the ensemble’s voices (mostly the sopranos) in the opening number was so intrusive that it made it difficult to discern the harmonies and even the melody. (Eased as the show progressed).
  2. Steph on August 5, 2014 at 11:56 AM said:
    Hi Jeannie, I am a rock singer with a lot of natural vibrato in my voice. Occasionally I want to make the stylistic choice to eliminate it, but the only way I know how is to tense my throat. As soon as I relax, it comes out automatically. Is there a way to eliminate the vibrato without creating stress or tension? Thank you!
  3. Jeannie Deva on August 5, 2014 at 12:55 PM said:
    Hi Sandy - Here's the definition of tremolo: "a wavering effect in a musical tone, typically produced by rapid reiteration of a note, or sometimes by rapid repeated variation in the pitch of a note or by sounding two notes of slightly different pitches to produce prominent overtones." I have not heard this term used for voices, only other musical instruments, as an added effect to a note. I know what you mean about intrusive and excessive vibrato.
  4. Jeannie Deva on August 5, 2014 at 12:59 PM said:
    Hello Steph - Vibrato can be developed and controlled, as can the production of "straight tone" (the absence of vibrato). Unfortunately, to teach you how to eliminate it without throat tension is not something I can do in a blog. To start with, try using my Vocal Warm-Ups and Cool-Downs CD. Those exercises will begin your journey of tension-less singing no matter what kind of sound you want. Thanks for your input!
  5. Kim on August 5, 2014 at 7:59 PM said:
    thank you so much for talking more about vibrato and these great details. I never stopped and thought about these different kinds like this. I have a question - I sing many style of music (classical, musical theater, pop and jazz, not so much rock) and I can't get my voice to go UP in a vibrato. When I sing a jazz shake I can get a wider, more dramatic effect, but still I have to think of starting on the note above and moving DOWN. How do you train your voice to be able to do both? Also, I've never really thought that much about volume vibrato. I'll have to play around with that. I also have a comment in response to Steph - I find that sometimes when you do MORE of something you can figure out how to do less. For example, make yourself sing a bigger, wider (not even a desirable) vibrato. Then go back to your default. What do you feel changing when you go from too much to normal? Then see if you can do that same thing and go a little lower than "normal" until you find the connection to doing none. That can be helpful for becoming aware of what's going on so you can find straight tone without tension. P.S. I LOVE Jeanie's warm ups and contemporary vocalist exercises especially disc 2 for creating easy natural sound. Great stuff there!
  6. Jean Ellis on August 6, 2014 at 4:00 AM said:
    I find Jeannie's warm ups are fantastic. I have also just bought The Contemporary Vocalist improvement course which contains CD and Book which I highly recommend. Jean E
  7. Jeannie Deva on August 6, 2014 at 9:57 AM said:
    Hi Kim - thanks so much for your input and I'm so pleased you LOVE my warm-ups and Contemporary Vocalist exercises. To work on the concept of pitch vibrato that goes up and down, use CD 3 of the Contemporary Vocalist, Tracks 9 and 13. It's also helpful to sing along with singers who do each kind of vibrato (or those you're interested in) and work to match what they sound like. Check out my Powerful Performances YouTube Channel of listening/observation exercises (this works in conjunction with my eBook: "Singers Guide to Powerful Performances."
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