Re: [Harp-L] diaphragm vibrato

Dear List,
  I like Michael's comment below.  "Many people say they do it, few actually do".  Diaphragm control is generally a mystery.  How many times have you been told, "sing from your gut", yet the person couldn't really explain how?
  I developed a fierce stomach vibrato before I started voice lessons.  I can't explain how it came because it was so long ago.  I actually don't have much of a "throat" vibrato, but I never really liked the sound of 'em (my preference).
  When I started voice training, my teacher really helped me to understand how to control air flow.  If the world at large can handle my disgustingly fat tummy, perhaps I should make a youtube on the subject.
  Anyway, take a deep breath.  Did your upper chest move at all?  For most of us, our chest swells up like Tarzan when we breathe deep.  Now, have someone put a hand or a menacing finger in the center of your chest.  Take the same deep breath (thinking "down" as you do) so that they can't feel any motion.  
  Once you can do this,  try to stop and start the airflow.  This time, use your hands to feel around your throat and mouth.  The only thing moving should be your stomach.   (Think "backwards coughing")
  The reason why diaphramatic (is that a word?) technique is so important to harmonica and voice is TONE.  Yes, there is a difference.  Imagine a column of air initiating outside of the harmonica, and extending all the way to the depth of your lungs.  (This goes for drawing in, or breathing out (singing).
  Your harp, head and hands all influence the resonance of the note you are making.    The theory goes, that pinching the column  (pinching to start and stop or vibrate a note) of air closer to the resonant chamber (as in a throat vibrato) results in less or "thinner" air, and poorer  overall sound quality.  On the other hand, if the air is controlled from afar (the diaphragm), then the resonance in the chamber will be richer.
  Here's a crude diagram:
  "*******" represent air column.  "O" is your head.  "/" is where the vibrato occurs.
  "------"  is  the "pinched" air column.
  Picture air racing out of a balloon with a nice big PFFFT sound.  When you pinch the outlet, you make an annoying (ok, they're both annoying) EEEEEEEK sound that sounds like a dying clarinet.  Maybe that analogy will help.
  Like most techniques, you just need to know what your goal is, and have some idea how to get there.  Then, it just takes some practice.  
  Dan G.
Michael Rubin <rubinmichael@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
  The holy grail? Maybe, in that many people say they do it, few actually do. I have met many people who, when I test them, are doing standard throat vibrato. I have met around 10 people who have a diaphram vibrato that sounds terrible in comparison with the standard throat vibrato sound, imo. 

Both Gary Primich and Jason Ricci have shown me they get a mixture of throat vibrato and diaphragm vibrato. Both told me (as far as I recall, Jason) they cannot separate the two techniques. Perhaps that is how Gary got his very quick vibrato.

I cornered Adam Gussow at the last SPAH literally as he was checking out of the hotel. He is the only person I have ever met who can separate the throat and the diaphragm vibrato. There is unquestionably a great difference in tone and the diaphragm vibrato is SUPERCOOL however, no cooler than a throat vibrato per se, just different. 

As far as I understand Gussow's lesson, it can only occur during the inhale. It can occur during bends. He uses it mostly on the low notes, holes 1 and 2. Draw in pulses of air in a steady rhythm, with each pulse push out with your diaphragm. After a while it becomes a muscle memory situation and smooths itself out.

As usual, I came away from SPAH with a list of around 6 things I wanted to practice. As usual, I practiced all 6 for about a month, narrowed it down to 2 things I am more obsessed about and dropped practicing everything else including diaphragm vibrato. I am still alive though, so the story ain't over yet!

Michael Rubin
Harp-L is sponsored by SPAH,

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