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Correcting a "Weird" Vibrato

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msaw
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Weird isn't the proper word to use... I should probably say shaky but its more than that :/

I was contracted by a record label to produce, write and mentor their new female singer. She's 14 and today we had our first session. She has a really good and strong voice, but her vibrato was doing something very weird. It was shaky, yet "spinning" and resonate all at the same time. I never heard anything like it before. At first I thought it was nerves, but as she relax it became even MORE prominent. We eventually did some breathing exercises to try to get an even flow of air through her vocal chords, but it didn't help. So I need some suggestions on what to do!

Here's an acapella piece of the song we did.

http://www.box.net/shared/l1g5iivzdg2nho279k35

Please help, we start on her album on Friday but I don't want to move any further until we get her voice right.

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i'm just a singer, but i would venture to say she's singing too breathy and with inconsistant fold clousure. a lot of these younger singers are so worried about doing trills and runs they wiggle themselves off of proper basic phonation....breath flow, consistent fold clousure, support. they equate the runs with the skill..i see it in karaoke bars all the time...i heard a guy do so many runs on, ready for this?

"stairway to heaven" it was unlistenable.

i would suggest some basic onset exercises and exercises for improving fold closure.

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Have her sing a long, sustained pitch and tell her that she can't use any vibrato at the end of the notes. Next, tell her to do the same thing but make a vibrato that's pretty slow, like volume pulses. When she can do that, tell her to gradually increase the speed until you have something that both of you like. Something to try, if you want. Have a nice one.

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Have her sing a long, sustained pitch and tell her that she can't use any vibrato at the end of the notes. Next, tell her to do the same thing but make a vibrato that's pretty slow, like volume pulses. When she can do that, tell her to gradually increase the speed until you have something that both of you like. Something to try, if you want. Have a nice one.

Ok. I'm going to try to that. Thanks :)

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i'm just a singer, but i would venture to say she's singing too breathy and with inconsistant fold clousure. a lot of these younger singers are so worried about doing trills and runs they wiggle themselves off of proper basic phonation....breath flow, consistent fold clousure, support. they equate the runs with the skill..i see it in karaoke bars all the time...i heard a guy do so many runs on, ready for this?

"stairway to heaven" it was unlistenable.

i would suggest some basic onset exercises and exercises for improving fold closure.

So she's letting too much air flow over her vocal folds?

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It's a laryngeal or glottal tremolo, reminiscent of Colin Hayes from Men at Work. It would be easier to isolate if you would provide track without reverb and other effects. Just the straight vocal track, right off the mic.

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It's a laryngeal or glottal tremolo, reminiscent of Colin Hayes from Men at Work. It would be easier to isolate if you would provide track without reverb and other effects. Just the straight vocal track, right off the mic.

Here it is without the compression and reverb.

http://www.box.net/shared/l1g5iivzdg2nho279k35

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Hi,

I'll keep this short as we must respect your clients age.

Vocal tremolo. She occasionally uses it throughout the phrasing for effect (vocoder like), elsewhere it's not (end of phrase). Ask her how she achieves it though (i.e. baa'ing through the chords - i.e. hammer vib)

For those with CVT (2000 version) an example - track 93.

Covered also as above... & add support. JP's covered her using straight tone, use it so she can become 'aurally' aware of it.

If you have access to the CVT track play it (to yourself) and read the page 196 (yourself). Straight tone her (Say D4 on [aI], Night / Nice or use another word on D4 "You" for 4 to 6 seconds) to see if she shows the "effect" of a free and mature voice (as she is only 14 - we could debate what age things become "natural" (ouch!!! should I dare use that word!!!)).

If things are sounding good then, make her aurally aware through a recording of differences.

1) you make student aurally aware of sound currently made

2) you make student aurally aware of sound to be made (To which she may already make)

3) you make student aurally aware of the differences

4) you ask student to apply this awareness

5) you give student bags of praise and confidence in abundance.<- this step is important.

IF she can show a good vibrato too, then she has a phrasing tremolo skill that YOU BOTH can use for effect.

I have / will / may mail you offline too as I MUST respect the client age and ask people to be mindful of postings.

So - what do you do, you forget the "I don't want to move any further" ... You start laying down tracks, get her singing and make sure she HAS THE TIME OF HER LIFE. Use whatever you and she has to best use and have a fantastic time. I'm sure that the end result will have a profoud effect on her life and move her forward not only vocally, but confidently too.

Stew

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So - what do you do, you forget the "I don't want to move any further" ... You start laying down tracks, get her singing and make sure she HAS THE TIME OF HER LIFE. Use whatever you and she has to best use and have a fantastic time. I'm sure that the end result will have a profoud effect on her life and move her forward not only vocally, but confidently too.

Stew

Excellent advice, and very useful perspective on how a producer can approach a young singer positively. Rep point.

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It sounds like a glottal tremolo, not exactly like the vibrato Steven has mentioned before that comes from the secondary wave in the fold brought on by a relaxed state of singing. In fact, one source I have read points out that vibrato is natural and it actually takes concerted training to produce a straight, non-wavering tone.

However, her sound might fit very well with some R & B. And, I think this effect is only usable at low singing volume, which certainly sounds like she is accomplishing.

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