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(1) A method of playing stringed musical instruments (those with necks); an even, regular vibration of the finger of the left hand on the string it is stopping. By periodically changing the pitch of the notes within small ranges, vibrato gives notes a special coloration and singing quality and increases their dynamic quality and emotional expressiveness. The use of vibrato dates back to the 16th and 17th centuries, to the performing art of lutanists and players of the viola da gamba; now it is used primarily with instruments of the violin family. Initially a unique kind of ornamentation in romantic music, vibrato has become an important way of achieving expressiveness.
(2) A method of playing certain wind instruments; a light opening and shutting of the valves and a change in the degree of intensity of the exhaled breath, causing a vibrating sound.
(3) A natural characteristic of a singer’s voice, which to a large degree determines its qualities of timbre, warmth, and expressiveness.
I. M. IAMPOL’SKII