What is Vocal Timbre
and How Can You Change It?
Vocal timbre is another phrase that aligns similarly to the THROGA dimension of Tone, which is your own unique sound when singing. It is often described as the quality of tone utilizing complex overtones, or sound waves, giving that unique “something” that is sometimes called vocal “color” and personality within your voice, and how it is recognized. Everyone has their own voice and their own learned habits of how they sing. There is no one else in the entire world that sounds like you.
Embracing your tone is an important part of learning how to work with your voice skills. You can describe the tone and timbre in terms like breathy, harsh, light, flat, smooth, dark, and so on. How you are able to recognize your own tone is how you can distinguish one tone from another. Some examples include how you were taught maybe in choir in school whether you were a Soprano, Alto, Tenor, or Bass. Range plays a role in this particular classification, with Sopranos having a higher range than Alto, Alto higher than Tenor, and down the line.
Understanding your vocal type and tone is going to be the most important factor to assist you in learning how to change it. For instance, if you can assess your voice and know that you tend to push air out more, making you sound breathy when you sing, you can train yourself how to manage your breathing in different ways so that you can alter that breathy tone into a flatter one, or keeping a sustained sound without the extra air behind it.
Some ways you can explore different types of timbre is by listening to other artists and recognizing what gives them their unique sound. Do they have a more nasal quality, a clear sound free of vibrato, or a richness in their lower register? When you work on specific tones you can easily identify how other singers are able to create different sounds, and it gives you the tools to also achieve that timbre with your own voice.
Vocal exercises and frequent voice lessons with a coach is the best way to practice changing your timbre and tone and learning about your specific vocal abilities in performances. Vocal instructors are there to help you learn in the safest way possible how to develop proper techniques to change your tone and timbre when singing different types and styles of music. When you vocalize you can explore the different tones that your own voice can make, and how to safely access these sounds when singing. This gives you as a singer more versatility with your tone.
Maintaining strength in your voice is one of the most important parts of working on your tone. In order to keep your voice healthy, vocal lessons and performing vocal exercises every day are going to be essential to learning the most proper methods of singing, and how to change or assess your vocal timbre.