Vibrato a musical effect consisting of a regular pulsating change of pitch. It is used to add expression to vocal and instrumental music. Vibrato is typically characterised in terms of two factors: 1. the amount of pitch variation ("extent of vibrato") 2. and speed with which the pitch is varied ("rate of vibrato”) 3. the spinning of the sound Much has been written and said about the use, or not, of vibrato in brass playing and in singing. Firstly, I would ask a question. Can a good speaker hold our attention without a) expression, b) changes of pitch, c) varied emphasis? Ask then, the same qustion of a brass player or vocalist. You will probably agree with me, that the same elements (in a musical way), are required to enhance our performance. Excess in most things isn’t a good thing. Similarly, in music, excess is not good either. So, with regards to vibrato, how much is too much, or how little is not enough?. Another question I would ask is, Do most good players / singers employ the art of vibrato? My answer is yes to that question. In fact I think too much is better than too little! (but that is only my opinion). I appreciate that other people are entitled to their viewpoint, however, music, must be made interesting to the listener. So what does vibrato do? For me it allows the performer to use the combination of both air flow and rate of vibrato to feed a note (i.e. help it’s full value). It aids the creation of a nuance within a phrase. That said, it should remain an enhancement to your sound, and not the substance. If vibrato is an element of expression – can you teach this? I’m not sure you can. You can request vibrato on this note, that note (i.e. prescribed), but I do not think you can put expression into the person. Music is reliant of innate responses. How do we improve this area of musicality? Listen to good players and singers how they go from one note to another how they keep the note filled how they create a nuance in a phrase
Play and sing lots of melodic material to improve your sound‐flow. Think about the spinning of the sound – practice this at slow and fast speeds So, am I in favour of vibrato in our playing/singing? Yes I am, as stated already, most excellent perfomers use it. What we must learn to do however, is, control it within the music, use it to help our performance, intrigue the listener. My view – ESSENTIAL – however, be careful with this most valuable expressive asset.