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Vibrato in Rock

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DonRoos
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I am a singer in 3 different Rock bands, a duo (doing Simon & Garfunkel and Bee Gees type harmonies) and also as a solo artist.  So I sing a wide variety of Rock, Pop, Blues, Country, Reggae and many other genre.  I had vocal training several years ago as I was having difficulty with singing high and it was causing me to do some damage to my voice.  The training was classical in nature and many of my training pieces were from Les Miserable.  I had to learn to relax to avoid straining my instrument.  I was pleased to hear from my trainer that I have a vocal range as great as Pavarotti's.  Most people compliment me on my voice.  A result of my training is a natural vibrato that have a modest level of control over and am quite proud of.  In some cases I can turn it off but other times not.  I can start it in some circumstances if I want.

Last week, a member of one of my bands told me I should not sing vibrato when doing rock music as all rock artists do not sing vibrato.  He said he could not harmonise with me if I sang vibrato.  I doubt this is true but he is not a good singer so I can understand he has difficulty pitching his voice.  Firstly I was surprised to hear this.  I know many rock artists did not have great vocal talents and could not sing vibrato if paid to do so.  But I was certainly unaware of it being wrong to sing Rock with vibrato.  A quick scan of google lead me to Roy Orbison who did sing with vibrato and I am sure many great singers such as Freddy  did too.  What other example are there?

Secondly, if this is indeed true and I need to stop, how do you stop a natural vibrato?  Is it possible and will doing so cause damage to my voice?

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  It is true that there may not be a lot of vibrato in Rock but that is usually not by choice....It would be good for you to learn to control it so it is not in everything....Sometimes that can be annoying but too much of anything is annoying.......I find the machinegun sounding drums of some songs to get annoying quick but that is just an opinion.

   More likely than not your friend wants you to stop because he has no vibrato.......Still learn to control it so you can use it when you want for effect and turn it off when not called for........Vibrato sounds cool when you start with a straight pitch and slowly add it in....

 

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Roy Orbison had such a distinctive sound from which his vibrato was an integral part.  Layne Staley (one of my all time favorite singers) had really great/cool vibrato.  He was known to sing rock. :) Steven Tyler by contrast (also one of my all time favorite singers) mostly sings with no or only subtle vibrato (but can and has sung before with really good vibrato too). 

Generally in rock i don't think heavy vibrato always would work well especially continuously throughout a song but more just every here and there could work very well(with more moderate to subtle vibrato). Of course, it really depends on the song and style of music i guess.

 

 

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Rock singers use vibrato. And alot of it. Some even use those huge theatrical vibrato like Dio or Tate or Dickinson. The thing is with harmonies its ussualy best to keep it straight or very subtle. Thats my opinion.

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As others have said rock uses tons of vibrato. Also doing harmonies with vibrato turns very fast into a complete mess, much harder to pull off and most of the time sounds very weird

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Ah yes... Vibrato ... A vocal effect that was cool for four hundred years until the grunge era singing took a dump on our door step and it became "uncool" for Rock  singers to use vibrato. Fortunately, interest in bands that were pretending to not be pretentious... Finally became uncool, because fans realized it was pretentious, and vibrato came back.

Vibrato, very cool live , but a problem in the studio. If vibrato is not contained in the studio, you have an intonation mess when mixing.

"the four pillars of singing" has several lessons and workouts on vibrato. Elvis have you tried the vibrato work out in your pillars training?

 

 

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I am a singer in 3 different Rock bands, a duo (doing Simon & Garfunkel and Bee Gees type harmonies) and also as a solo artist.  So I sing a wide variety of Rock, Pop, Blues, Country, Reggae and many other genre.  I had vocal training several years ago as I was having difficulty with singing high and it was causing me to do some damage to my voice.  The training was classical in nature and many of my training pieces were from Les Miserable.  I had to learn to relax to avoid straining my instrument.  I was pleased to hear from my trainer that I have a vocal range as great as Pavarotti's.  Most people compliment me on my voice.  A result of my training is a natural vibrato that have a modest level of control over and am quite proud of.  In some cases I can turn it off but other times not.  I can start it in some circumstances if I want.

Last week, a member of one of my bands told me I should not sing vibrato when doing rock music as all rock artists do not sing vibrato.  He said he could not harmonise with me if I sang vibrato.  I doubt this is true but he is not a good singer so I can understand he has difficulty pitching his voice.  Firstly I was surprised to hear this.  I know many rock artists did not have great vocal talents and could not sing vibrato if paid to do so.  But I was certainly unaware of it being wrong to sing Rock with vibrato.  A quick scan of google lead me to Roy Orbison who did sing with vibrato and I am sure many great singers such as Freddy  did too.  What other example are there?

Secondly, if this is indeed true and I need to stop, how do you stop a natural vibrato?  Is it possible and will doing so cause damage to my voice?

Don, my apologies, sometimes I only have time to read "bites" of what's going on in here. But I read your post...

Welcome and it's cool having a pro like you join us.

Ok... Some band mate said that rock has no vibrato? With all do respect, that is moronic and laughable. Why anyone would overtly proclaim their stupidity with such a comment, is beyond me, but then again... I'm not stupid enough to say such a thing. I am stupid enough to say stupid things... But I would not be that stupid. 

That is a comment that comes right from the book of "... How to know what is cool when singing rock in the post grunge era if you need someone to tell you what is cool" book... This attitude... Is a learned behavior. It is obviously not founded on any evidence, quite the contrary, overwhelming evidence proves otherwise... So where does such a band mate get such a stupid idea from? As I said, from the unwritten book called, " how to know what is cool when singing rock in a post grunge era age for people that need to be told or taught what is cool"... 

Apart from the fact that, any real, intelligent artist would never make a statement about creative limitations in any genre, medium or venue. 

Is your band mate a Mellinial by chance? Sort of a younget person that started listening to music with nirvana or pearl jam? If so, thAt explains it... Mellinials hate vibrato, it's so uncool to them, or so their told...

But seriously , that is a bandmate-tard point of view.

 

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Maybe not in some forms of rock (yeah like that post-grunge shouty throaty stuff). But there are certainly forms of rock where it works very well...

You should just show your bandmate this video. Fabio Lione's vibrato is so good (maybe even excessive) but it works really well for the music. What gets more badass than that?

 

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Thanks for all the replies, I am happy to hear that I was not labouring under a miss understanding and getting it all wrong.

MDEW. strongly agree with the less is more idea and I try not to over do the vibrato.  It generally is fairly automatic when I get to the end of a phrase and start holding a note.  Generally it does start as a single note and develops into a vibrato.

guitarplayerjax, I try and avoid heavy vibrato and trying to force it.  So as far as I am concerned it should sound great - certainly some of my critics have said I have a great voice although nobody has specifically commented on the vibrato.

Elvis & Jens, I have not considered that vibrato could cause problems with harmonies and I will certainly try and hold back on those great 4 part harmony endings that we try and do.

MDEW and Robert Lunte, I strongly suspect that this emanates from his inability to sing with vibrato and he is trying to get me to stop so that the few songs he sings  seem to be not quite so good.  Sadly he is one of the older members of the band so has lived through the best of the 50's to modern music so he has been exposed to all the greats and has no excuse for his attitude,

Rotlung, that video is pure genius - thank you for sharing that with me as I have not seen/heard it before.  I love this style of music and I shrive to emulate the blend of clean vocals going towards vibrato with the odd grunts and growls for effect.

I will look into the 4 pillars training that I have seen mentioned but know nothing of wrt learning to better control the vibrato.  I am particularly concerned about not doing any damage through controlling a natural thing as I have noticed that trying to stop the vibrato is causing a bit of tension.

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Nice response Don. Hey, just to be clear is no damage what so ever you could get from training some vibrato techniques. It is pretty benign. It makes sense that stopping vibrato might cause tension. Vibrato has a way of keeping your singing very physical free and nimble... it makes the sound AND the mechanism "flutter, or "play", like a shock absorber on a car. 

Laryngeal vibrato... the kind that is most versatile and cool... keeps the intrinsic musculature from tensing up... if you stop, and your voice is not used to it... it can be like taking the shock absorbers off your car. So I would advise that you do not stop your vibrato, just learn to control it... keep it reigned in a bit. 

One of the greatest pop voices of all time... with laryngeal vibrato... not too much, just right... tastey.

:thankyou:

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Rob i tried vibrato exercise yes. Tbh im preety satisfied how my vibrato sounds. Could be better but im fond of it. 

Range and tone are my concerbes right now xD

​Range = Train your belts and train the coordination to get above A4.

Tone = Vowels + Tongue + Larynx positioning. 

:moomin:

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Rob i tried vibrato exercise yes. Tbh im preety satisfied how my vibrato sounds. Could be better but im fond of it. 

Range and tone are my concerbes right now xD

​Range = Train your belts and train the coordination to get above A4.

Tone = Vowels + Tongue + Larynx positioning. 

:moomin:

Good advice. Im doing that exactly. And how you knew A4 was a big ceiling :) hehe ty maestro

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Depends on the song, Don, on how much vibrato we are talking about, etc. It does not prevent harmonizing, but it may not sound good depending on what you guys are playing...

If you can record just a section of a song that would be a problem in the way he mentioned it would be great. Keep in mind, that often other musicians are not able to express exactly what they are hearing, and what they want, he may be pointing the vibrato and could be doing a harmony on the wrong interval for example.

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I would seriously like to record myself in various contexts but lack decent recording equipment to do so.  I only have my android tablet which records really badly and I use it for my lyrics (I am getting old and find it hard to remember the lyrics for over 400 songs that I have in various stages of performance readiness).  It would be great to let you hear what he is complaining about for an objective analysis.  Soon I will be able to get a good recording setup.

The band member in question is very quick to complain if any little thing is not exactly as he wants it, even to the extent of insisting we do his arrangement of songs even if they differ from the original. I had a band member from another of my bands (lead singer and an old hand in a band he is busy leaving to join us) do a crit last Friday and he said the vocals were great and the guitarist in question was "not adding anything to the band" and "too loud and drowning out the vocals".  So I have no doubt now that he is smoking his socks and deserves no further consideration.

The reason I wanted to ask was that I am a sensitive person that is easily offended by harsh criticism and also a perfectionist in trying to do the absolute best I can to sing songs and do justice to them.  So I have to be sure that I am not ignoring good constructive criticism by being too sensative.  I am now convinced.  Thanks for all your support!

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