Tuesday, July 18, 2006

"pushing" vibrato

So, I'm not sure if anyone notices, but sometimes when someone sings, and they push a lot of air through their voice, they can force their vibrato. Actually, I think it's more of a succession of glottal stops or something. Anyway, Morrissey does this in concert. It sounds like a flutter, but it isn't his normal vibrato. He turns his normal vibrato off and then does this "glottal stop" thing, perhaps pushing more air through.

Maybe I'm not making sense, but does anyone else do this kind of thing? Any musicologists out there run into articles about this kind of vocal gesture? I would think not, since such a thing would be completely against bel canto singing style.

I've started talking about it by using Robert Walser's idea of electric guitar distortion, where power is pushed through an amplifier, basically causing it to fail, and thus distort the sound. For Walser, this is not actually a sign of failure, but rather of power and expression. So maybe this is what is happening with Morrissey, except that his voice doesn't crack or anything - he seems to be doing this himself, taking control over his normal vibrato with the glottal work.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

i can whistle pretty good by pushing air out of my mouth while puckering my lips and leaving a little space for air to escape. (and i used to be able to belch the alphabet in my younger years) although i'm not much help with this vibrato thing. sorry

Nicholas Greco said...

Um... thanks for trying?

I found some stuff about using a glottal stop in traditional Irish singing. So I'm using that.

T.O. said...

Glad to hear it - I just sort of shrugged and moved back to Wagner :)