I recently saw a vocal soloist who I thought used too much vibrato. I didn't think she was bad otherwise, and I liked much of the rest of her performance. My point is that I have this opinion about virtually every operatic "classical" vocalist I have heard/seen. I don't really like classical opera, in part, because of the way the voices sound. I find the vibrato really distracting.
I sing in an amateur church choir, and I have no vibrato at all to speak of in my voice, and little to no idea of how to go about developing it. That's okay there, I guess, because I'm just one of the sopranos, and I can sing in tune and support the section. But one of the reasons I joined the choir was to become a better singer in order to be a better all-around musician. Often I have been advised to make my violin or viola playing sound more like the human voice singing.
So, I guess my question is, what kind of singing should I be trying to emulate when I play the violin? That operatic, vibrato-heavy style that I don't even enjoy listening to? That can't be right, can it? I do use vibrato on the violin, but I've been told it sounds too constrained and narrow, even when I think it's fine.
Are there schools of thought around this issue among professional musicians? How did the current conventions develop? I seem to remember and have observed that "early music" has less of this vibrato-heavy style. Is that a good place to look?
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