I have a question about vibrato. Whilst I understand what it is, and have heard many people’s voices with vibrato of different types, I still have no vibrato in my own voice. I have been told that I sing with a fixed larynx, and that you get vibrato by tilting your larynx. However I have no idea how to do this!! Any feedback would be most gratefully received, as this is, I feel, what is really missing from my singing voice.

This is a question that occurs frequently in my private classes – how do we do vibrato?

Firstly, let’s define vibrato. The even movement of apparent pitch around the main note. Vibrato can occur mainly around, mainly above or mainly below the intended pitch (each gives a different effect). Slow or wide vibrato tends to sound unpleasant, but different audiences will accept different amounts in different genres.

It is ironic that with most singers who have “no vibrato” in their voice, asking them to hold a note completely without vibrato will often help to produce vibrato. Sometimes vibrato feels like a tiny “letting go”, so experiment with holding a note absolutely straight, then let go slightly.

You don’t say how old you are. Teenagers, both male and female, will usually go through a stage of change where they are unable to access thyroid tilt. If this is you, don’t panic, you will be able to access it in a few months. Remember also that different styles of music require different sounds and emotions – what might be an acceptable vibrato in gospel might not work for rap (too many fast words).

The subject of vibrato is quite a complex one, as there are at least three different mechanisms that can assist in making it – breath fluctuation, larynx movement and “thyroid tilt”. You can discover more details about these and different exercises for accessing vibrato by clicking on this link: Pant, Wobble and Cry – getting emotion into your voice.