vi·​bra·​to | \ vi-ˈbrä-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce vibrato (audio) , vī- \
plural vibratos

Definition of vibrato

: a slightly tremulous effect imparted to vocal or instrumental tone for added warmth and expressiveness by slight and rapid variations in pitch

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Other Words from vibrato

vibratoless \ vi-​ˈbrä-​(ˌ)tō-​ləs How to pronounce vibrato (audio) , vī-​ \ adjective

Examples of vibrato in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Kylie Minogue picks the perfect moments to pull back vocally, opting for an occasional smooth and quiet vibrato, making the moments of intensity hit even harder. Natalie Maher, Harper's BAZAAR, "40 of the Best Songs from the 2000s," 30 Apr. 2021 The voice: Day does her own singing, modifying her regular singing voice to emulate Holiday’s tremulous vibrato. Hugh Hart, Los Angeles Times, "Three actresses, three powerful roles as real-life singers," 7 Mar. 2021 Compared to her more measured and emotional performance of the anthem at the 2016 Super Bowl, her inaugural take on the song was dynamic and uplifting, showcasing her signature vibrato and impressive range. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, "Lady Gaga stuns with rousing national anthem at Biden inauguration," 20 Jan. 2021 Brenda Harris’ Bernadette is a sweet-voiced soprano, though her vibrato is often too wide. Tim Diovanni, Dallas News, "Review: Fort Worth Opera streams a new Zoom production. But the main messages fall flat," 15 Jan. 2021 Tamara, who has a lot of vibrato and is classically trained, needs to tone it down a bit; Olivia needs to bump up her power and performance level. Maggie Fremont,, "The Voice recap: It's time to Battle," 10 Nov. 2020 True to form, the maverick Ellington rejected this norm, instead combining here a single trumpet and trombone—each using a mute and avoiding vibrato—with a clarinet. John Edward Hasse, WSJ, "A Sapphire of Tonal Brilliance," 16 Oct. 2020 The quavering vibrato of the violin seems to mirror our inability to find an angle of repose. Danielle Ofri, The New Yorker, "A Bellevue Doctor’s Pandemic Diary," 1 Oct. 2020 Soloists in the Ninth Symphony are capable, although fluttery vibrato from soprano Kate Royal and tenor Tuomas Katajala distracts a bit. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "Musicians with D-FW connections record Beethoven symphonies, chamber works with clarinet," 24 July 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vibrato.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of vibrato

circa 1876, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for vibrato

Italian, from past participle of vibrare to vibrate, from Latin

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Time Traveler for vibrato

Time Traveler

The first known use of vibrato was circa 1876

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Statistics for vibrato

Last Updated

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vibrato.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for vibrato



English Language Learners Definition of vibrato

music : a way of making small, rapid changes in a musical note that you are singing or playing so that it seems to shake slightly

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