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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi! I am a singer and recently started learning alto sax. I find that I am able to vibrato fairly easily due to my singing experience. Singers produce vibrato by pulsating their diaphragm but I have read that saxophone players produce vibrato by moving their jaws.

Now, I have a couple of questions.
- What are the pros and cons of both vibratos?
- Should I learn to do the jaw vibrato or is the diaphragmatic vibrato fine?

Thanks in advance!
 

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There are 'pros and cons' of both.
Diaphragm is more suited for the double reed player than the saxophonist. :)
Learn jaw vibrato after you've developed your tone on the sax.
Then use it only when it's absolutely necessary.

Others will give you differing advice, but this is my 'personal' opinion.
 

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Grafton + TH & C alto || Naked Lady 10M || TT soprano || Martin Comm III
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Singers produce vibrato by pulsating their diaphragm
Not necessarily. A few opera singers do that and it can sound a bit like a dodgy starter motor.

I would recommend for saxophone you stick to jaw vibrato, but with diaphragm support and open throat.. A lot of what people call diaphragm vibrato is actually a throat vibrato and is more like coughing.

With jaw vibrato the pitch rises and falls, with other sorts it's often just the amplitude of the sound that modulates (more like flute vibrato)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I guess I better get started learning the jaw vibrato. Thanks for the advice and fast reply! :)
 

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Not necessarily. A few opera singers do that and it can sound a bit like a dodgy starter motor.
Hmm.. My understanding had always been that vibrato in singing is produced from the diaphragm whether you be Louis Armstrong, Kurt Cobain or Montserrat Caballe..

Is that wrong?
 

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Hmm.. My understanding had always been that vibrato in singing is produced from the diaphragm whether you be Louis Armstrong, Kurt Cobain or Montserrat Caballe..

Is that wrong?
I think so. Vibrato is supported by the diaphragm, but not created by it apart from those really exaggerated vibrato that I mentioned which sound like a starter motor.
 

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I think so. Vibrato is supported by the diaphragm, but not created by it apart from those really exaggerated vibrato that I mentioned which sound like a starter motor.
Yes. I have been looking into this on the internet just now and experimenting a bit (I had lessons in classical singing as a youngster). My teacher always emphasised that tone originates from diaphragm support and I suppose I always took this in a rough and ready (ie wrong) way to mean "the diaphragm creates vibrato". Actually, I noticed even from a brief experiment that the oscillation does feel to be much higher up - to me it feels like the upper chest but I suppose it is actually to do with the larynx (??)
 

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amplitude modulation = tremelo
frequency modulation = vibrato
I suspect that singers use a combination of those.
I know that when I play the flute I sometimes pulse my lips very subtly for effect especially on the high notes.
 

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Actually, if you watch an opera singer closely, the back of their tongues actually changes with vibrato. I suspect that there is a timbre change involved also.
 

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I recall learning too many years ago that singing vibrato comes from taking advantage of the natural tendency of the throat muscles controlling pitch to oscillate their tension. The same natural oscillation occurs when someone's voice quavers unders stress, or when people age and develop a tremor in the voice. It was a throat rather than a diaphragm thing, leading to a rising and falling of pitch. By contrast, I always did flute vibrato from the diaphragm, causing a pulsation in volume rather than pitch.
 
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