Vibration (Onset)

Vibration/Onset consistency determines the tone quality that we will produce when we begin to make a sound. When you whisper in a quiet room you are relaxing the vibration faculties in your voice. When you try to talk while lifting something heavy, you are then tightening the vibration faculties in your voice.

Singers exhibit 3 basic types of vibration/onsets;

  • Breathy/Aspirate Onsets happens when a singer does not control the air coming out while they sing. When a balloon loses air without control, it flies around anywhere while the air is escaping. Our diaphragm does the same thing with our sound when we do not control it with the muscles in our abdomen. We usually whisper with shallow breaths instead of deep breaths. You can feel Relaxed Onsets when you begin sentences with “who, what, when, where, why & how”. These words have airy beginnings (aspirate onsets) with the “H” sound that relaxes the throat muscles for softer vocal production. Using this type of vibration too much could make your quality of sound weak and can affect your ability to stay in tune. Relaxed Vibrations are helpful when you want to create a heartfelt effect, especially when singing about love because it makes your sound sincere. You should use this technique carefully for sections of songs that call for an earnest mood.
  • Tense/Tight Onsets happens when a singer is putting a strain on the air that they sing with. Singing with Tight Vibration is like trying to talk while lifting something heavy. Tension presses your vocal chords together and constricts the air that you let out. Singers use tension to add force to their quality; However, the air pressure that builds up because of tension will create a glottal onset and could cause your voice to ‘crack’ while you sing. You will feel glottal vocal onsets from the tight initial sounds when you say the letters “A, E, I, O” and the sound “ooh”. Saying “D, G, J & K” show tension when your tongue lowers from the roof of your mouth. Adding tension while you sing will add intensity and should be used when you want to emphasize attitude or strong emotion while you sing.
  • Coordinated/Balanced Onsets is the combination of ‘Volition’ and ‘Actuation.’ Balanced vibration is great because it keeps singers from sounding too breathy, or too strained. Coordinated vibration will give you the ability to sing with a clear, flowing sound quality. *You can feel Balanced Vibration (little pressure, if any) when you say the letters “C, R & V”. When saying the letter “U”, there is no Breathy or Tense Vibration at its onset, so “U” is an example of a perfect Coordinated Vibration/Onset.
    When you begin singing, it is a great idea to master Balanced Vibration first, because;
  • you will exercise a natural, controlled tone you should be most accustomed to
  • you will avoid straining your vocal muscles with incorrect singing
  • you will you sing with a clearer, and more correct tone
  • you will be able to better control your volume and intensity while you sing.