A type of musical effect where a note changes pitch subtly and quickly
"Vibrato" is a fundamental expressive technique used in music to enhance the beauty and emotional impact of a performance. It involves the rapid oscillation of pitch around a central tone, resulting in a fluctuation of sound.
To produce vibrato, musicians manipulate various factors depending on the instrument or voice. For string players, such as violinists or cellists, it involves small and rapid movements of the wrist, arm, or finger on the string, altering the string tension to vary the pitch. Wind instrumentalists, like flutists or saxophonists, modulate the air pressure and speed of their breath to achieve vibrato. Vocalists control their vocal cords to create a pulsating effect in their singing.
Vibrato can be adjusted in terms of speed, depth, and width. The speed refers to the rate of oscillation, which can vary from slow and subtle to fast and pronounced. The depth refers to the extent of pitch deviation from the central tone, ranging from a narrow and gentle vibrato to a wide and dramatic vibrato. The width refers to the range of pitches covered within each oscillation.
Musicians use vibrato to convey a range of emotions and musical expressions. It adds a sense of warmth, resonance, and emotional depth to the sound. Vibrato can be applied continuously throughout a musical phrase or selectively used to emphasize particular notes or passages. It is often employed in lyrical or expressive sections of a piece, such as solos, melodies, or sustained notes.