The Straight Dope on Straight Tone
Updated: Jan 1
It's a myth.
Many singers and voice teachers who have been warned off of straight tone; both in singing and in teaching. Despite the fact that it is a requisite sound in all of popular music, this myth still persists.
If you’re an independent voice teacher, or teaching music theater in a school or college, this presents you with a disconnect. You want to teach your students healthy technique, and they want to sing - or are singing - styles that call for a straight tone. If you teach them only “flow” vibrato, they’ll either sound inappropriate to their genre, or they’ll quit your studio.
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Let’s start with what it is
Without getting super specific, I’m going to describe the physiology of vibrato, and of straight tone. (There are many, more knowledgeable people than me who have described this process in a much more specific way than I am here.)
Vibrato, or lack of vibrato, occurs based on a combination of air pressure dynamics, muscle tension, and bioelectric muscle stimulation.