Vibrato tangent- Any cultures in which singers do NOT use vibrato?
As I am from Chicago, there is a great deal of emphasis on a singing tone and modeling one’s instrumental playing on the voice.
If this is also true for many other cultures and areas, then the opposite hypothesis would be that cultures in which singing without vibrato is the norm would also produce instrumentalists that would not use vibrato. Absolutely no data yet in support of, or rejecting this.
Traditional Irish folk singers tended not to use vibrato, likewise the instrumentalists. But this is fading away now, perhaps because of the pervading influence of modern musical styles.
Long time since I listened to les voix Bulgares.
That's an interesting question.
Paul - At last, some real information about the origin and application of vibrato - thank you! Your first paragraph seems to encapsulate the essence, that vibrato in its original (vocal) manifestation is used to express emotion. I intend to keep that in mind while playing, and integrate it with discreet use of portamento...
How do you know it's information and not supposition?
Fair enough - in another thread I just wrote "nullius in verba". So I don't actually BELIEVE what Paul says, I just agree with it.
Interestingly, we are both involved in that other thread, and both involve similar ideas about whom to believe, not that I have any problem with paul. :-)
Western classical choral
There's always one soprano in the choir who does and she stands out a mile. Co-modulation masking release!
Hi Steve Jones,
That's it for sure. Great to be reminded of it
The solo has vibrato though
It's highly melismatic in the middle eastern manner but I'm not sure I'd call it vibrato. The drone of the lower voices could be in imitation of instruments. They've clearly discovered you can maximise combination tones by singing close together and absolutely senza vib
Jeewon- right about traditional western choral. I wonder to what extent that comes from the church tradition with reverberant spaces and non vibrato organ stops. That would also jibe with traditional sacred brass circa the renaissance that also does not use vibrato -are they linked?
I believe that Cajun singers sing without vibrato.
Boy sopranos don't.
Edward, I don't know about sacred brass (though it's worth noting classical brass is also largely non-vib) but I think the non-vib choral tradition must originate from the church, going back to Gregorian chant. I'm no expert, but I think it must be related to the idea of pure intervals and just tuning.
Also, the many and varied throat singing traditions.
Not sure about that Jeewon. I listened to some Tuvan singing, but I thought I could detect vibrato. I've got a CD of it somewhere. I must find it.
Vibrato while *throat* singing, or just singing?
I would go as far as to say most cultures of the world don't use vibrato vocally, at least not in the way Western classical music does as a constant ubiquitous effect. Even in the West, it varies with popular and folk musics. Never sounds right when a classical singer sings popular music!
A few thoughts:
Okay, here is Bill Withers singing "Ain't No Sunshine", very soulfully without vibrato:
Mose Allison didnt sing with vib either.
Indian classical singing, both Hindustani and Carnatic is the basis of the raga musical systems. Vibrato is very rare, and is considered a defect in the voice. Singers are highly trained to project from a pianissimo to full volume. A firm, steady tone, and very accurate intonation are necessary to create the shades of feeling of the various ragas. There is a vibrato-like ornament, but I would call it a tremolo.
Indian violinist L.Shankar playing sans vibrato: