Melodyne is one of the best pitch-editing tools and I believe most consider it an industry standard at this point. It does take a considerable amount of time to learn how to use it though. While Celemony does do a good job with its articles, videos, and tutorials, I like to make my own to fill in any gaps, including when showing how to add vibrato.
Most professional DAWs like Logic Pro X, for instance, have this feature built into it with their Flex Pitch setting. Some DAWs can’t do it quite the way you would like, or it just doesn’t sound how you envisioned it. This is where Melodyne steps in. You can use it as a plugin in almost any DAW, and it’ll fill in those gaps where your DAW hasn’t got it covered.
To add vibrato in Melodyne
1) Record your vocal then print it into Melodyne using “Transfer”
2) Click the Pitch Modulation tool next to the scroll button
3) With the tool, pull on the blob to shape the vibrato
4) Select the Pitch Drift Tool. Use it to confine the vibrato within a defined pitch.
And it doesn’t get much harder than that. What makes Melodyne hard to use when you’re starting out, if you ask me, is the scroll and zoom tools. Simply getting around the interface can take a few sessions to figure out, but no worries. While many of the people reading will be able to figure out how to add vibrato using the simple tutorial I just shared, some will want more of a step-by-step guide, so I’ll show you how to do that now…
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Step-By-Step Guide for Adding Vibrato in Melodyne
2 Things to Know About Melodyne First
1) There Is the Plugin and Standalone Version of Melodyne
Before we begin, one thing I’ll say is that there are actually two ways of adding vibrato in Melodyne. One is with Melodyne as a plugin, while the other is with the stand-alone version of the application.
Truthfully, I like both versions of it because the stand-alone application does some things that the plugin does not. I’ll make sure to give you both versions where applicable.
2) There Are Other Versions of Melodyne That May Not Have the Tool
The next thing you should know is that each type of Melodyne, Essential, Assistant, Editor, and Studio, are all different and have separate tools and features. You can check out Celemony’s page here to see all of the differences between the 4 grades of Melodyne available – I’ve discussed them in more detail in my guide to Melodyne too.
The Studio is the full version that has everything the software has to offer, while the previous three do not, with the Essential acting as the introductory plugin. For this tutorial, ensure you’ve got at least the Assistant version which can be accessed at the link in the image above. Here’s a short video if you’d rather watch that than read a tutorial:
1) Open Melodyne 5 on Your Recorded Vocal Track
For the stand-alone version, you would instead export your project as a .wav or AIFF file and then import it into Melodyne just by dragging and dropping.
It’s important to note that you would have to solo the recording first, at least if you want the audio file by itself for editing. This is how you import almost all forms of audio in every kind of application as I showed in my importation guide.
2) Press ‘Transfer’ and Then Hit Play
When I first started using Melodyne years ago, this was one of the features that took me a second to figure out. To get recordings into Melodyne, you have to hit the Transfer button first so it turns red.
Then, you want to press play on your project to actually have Melodyne process it for editing. For the stand-alone version, you wouldn’t have to do this, because the importation process will start automatically.
3) Click and Hold on the Pitch Tool > Select the Pitch Modulation Tool
Hold down on the Pitch icon like what’s shown in the image above, and then select the Pitch Modulation tool which is the first one from the top. The Pitch Drift tool – which we’ll discuss in a minute – is the one after it.
4) Pull on the Blob Until the Recording Has the Desired Vibrato
What the pitch modulation tool does is it takes pre-existing vibrato and stretches and adjusts it. This means if your recording has no modulation or vibrato on it at all, which is unlikely in most situations, it won’t be able to adjust anything.
Most recordings have a fluctuation in pitch though, unless we’re dealing with a sine wave or something scientific that I don’t know about.
5) Click on the Pitch Drift Tool, Then Confine the Vibrato to the Desired Pitch
Pull on the recording to confine the vibrato within the pitch or note range. If you have a look at #5’s image and then the previous step, #4, you’ll notice how there is a distinct difference in terms of how wide the lines are oscillating.
The first one was more wild, wide, and uncontrolled, whereas the #5 image, the picture above, shows a vibrato that’s more confined within the Db3 marker on the left-hand side of the blob (by the way, Melodyne calls the orange notes in the interface “blobs.”)
This is a useful tool, for sure, especially if your DAW doesn’t have the ability to flex pitch. Use the notes on the side, ie, Db3, to inform and guide your vibrato-shaping decisions.
Other Melodyne and Pitch Correction Articles
- How to Pitch Your Vocals in GarageBand
- How to Use Auto-Tune (Pitch Correction) in GarageBand
- All the Best Plugins for GarageBand
Important Things to Note About Using Melodyne for Vibrato
1) You Can’t ‘Draw’ in Vibrato
Some people on Reddit have asked whether it’s possible to ‘draw’ in the vibrato on your recording. I don’t believe it’s possible to do this. What is possible, is that you can adjust the amount of vibrato there already is in the recording and then confine that vibrato to a certain pitch or note.
While there may be a way to use tricks and tips to draw vibrato on a note, I imagine it would probably make more sense to just re-record the note again and get the desired vibrato right from the start. Worst case scenario, if you’re working with a vocalist or somebody, just have them quickly re-record the passage and send it by text or email.