Queen’s frontman Freddie Mercury had the most distinctive voice in rock and roll history. His fans claim that his extraordinary vocals spanned multiple octaves. And a lot of fans wonder: Did Freddie Mercury have 4 octaves?
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Here is what I know from being a Queen fan for decades:
Freddie Mercury did have a 4-octave vocal range which ranged between F2- F6. However, Freddie Mercury’s vocal ability also included the ability to go from soft and sweet to a loud rock voice very quickly. And his extraordinary vocals are often attributed to his buck teeth.
Born with four extra incisors, Freddie Mercury believed his genetic defect aided in attaining his magnificent voice. His vocal abilities were often described as “a force of nature with the velocity of a hurricane.”
He demonstrated his ability to switch from delicate vocals to powerful expressions within a short span. And Queen’s unique sound is often credited to the singer’s unique and rare 4-octave vocal range.
But his vocal range wasn’t the only reason for Freddie Mercury’s popularity and eccentric stage persona. His personal life was as inspiring as his music.
Since he isn’t among us anymore to share his opinions, I had to do a lot of digging to get more details. But I’ve also been a fan for decades.
👑FREDDIE MERCURY 👑 pic.twitter.com/zu3dRV88cg
— 👑 ROCK QUEEN👑💎💥 (@FREDDIELOVEVD) August 12, 2021
Did Freddie Mercury have a good voice?
Freddie Mercury had an outstanding and distinctive voice, especially given that he didn’t have any formal training. He combined his vocal strength with passion, pure emotions, theatricality, and musical charisma.
Freddie was known to have the incredible gift of Ear of Music. He could hear any song and reproduce it without any effort. His voice has been a matter of study over the years.
Logopedics Phoniatrics Vocology undertook individual research to analyze Freddie Mercury’s voice and determined 2 factors behind Freddie’s good vocal abilities.
Let us take a look at them one by one.
When Freddie Mercury spoke, his voice had a frequency of 117.3 Hz.
This gave him a rich baritone voice. But when Mercury sang, he had a range that could go as low as 92.2Hz up to 784 Hz.
This ability to manipulate his vocals allowed him to hit notes from a booming low of F#2 to the high pitch of G5s or higher.
The study also indicates that Freddie could modulate his vibrato and sound significantly faster than other rock stars. His typical vibrato could fluctuate around 7.04 Hz.
The lead analyst involved in the study, Dr. Christain Hebst, says Freddie Mercury was an:
“Incredibly skillful and versatile singer who could adapt a wide range of artistic vocal expressions and laryngeal configuration to musical needs.”
The analysis of this study reports that Freddie had a voice unlike any other in Rock n Roll history, which helped him achieve the unique performances of all time.
— A Queen Of Magic (@aqueenofmagic) August 12, 2021(Video) Queen - It's A Hard Life (Official Video)
Did Freddie Mercury have perfect pitch?
Freddie Mercury did have perfect pitch, which is the ability to sing a note perfectly without any accompaniment or reference note. His sense of pitch gave him great control of his timbre, range, phrasing, and rasp.
His fans believe that he was considered one of the best male vocalists that modern music has ever witnessed. Of course, being a human, he had moments where he wasn’t perfect, but who is?
Vocal coaches have studied his voice extensively and confirm that he had “the best ears on the business”.
He knew what a song should sound like to the last detail. He could pick out any incorrect note in a piece and instantly correct it in live concerts.
The only time his pitch went slightly off was when he wasn’t doing that well. Even then, he knew how to sing the same melody half a step lower and keep up his pitch.
Many said his voice was “studio magic” because he sang perfectly when autotune didn’t exist.
Freddie Mercury refused to have his teeth worked on because he was afraid it would change his voice. pic.twitter.com/rgsGOTY5Mw
— World Class Facts (@WorldClassFacts) December 12, 2015
What did Freddie Mercury attribute his enhanced vocal range to?
Freddie Mercury was born with 4 supernumerary incisor teeth. As he grew, it pushed his teeth forward, leading to buckteeth which he believed improved his vocal range. This belief is why he never sought dental work to correct his teeth.
Born to Bomi and Jer Bulsara, Farrokh Bulsara, aka Freddie Mercury, had four extra teeth when his teeth started coming in. Growing up, the teen was always self-conscious about his looks.
Later in the years, when music drew his attention, he had the impression that his buck teeth had something to do with the particular resonance that it lent to the configuration of his voice.
He even rejected any orthodontic treatment to treat his malocclusion, fearing that his voice would lose the magic it had.
However, it seems like the real reason behind Freddie’s unique voice is more scientific than a genetic defect.
A posthumous study conducted to develop an acoustic analysis of Freddie’s voice indicated that Freddie’s vocal range, chords, and unusual vibrato control greatly impacted his natural tone.
The research shows Freddie has a natural voice for a healthy adult, but what stood out was how he applied vibrato and distortion to his voice.
Whatever may have been the reason behind his fantastic voice, his fans know that Freddie was a powerful performer. His performances are well worth remembering, even decades after his death.
35 years ago today, Freddie Mercury of Queen performed to 120,000 people at Knebworth Park, England.
He ended the show by saying, “Goodnight and sweet dreams.”
It would be his last ever performance with the group. pic.twitter.com/435HMej3ze
— Eric Alper 🎧 (@ThatEricAlper) August 10, 2021
What other singers have a 4-Octave vocal range?
Singers with a 4-octave vocal range include Christina Aguilera, Beyonce, Brendon Urie, Paul McCartney, and Prince.
Among these, Freddie’s was the most unique.
A good catalog of the range combines decent baritone, tender, alto, and notes ranging from low to high. Among these, what can make a singer stand out is their range of octaves.
A 2-3 octave is generally pretty normal for singers (Elvis Presley, Cheryl Cole, Chris Martin) and can be trained and expanded a little with work.
But why does a good Octave range matter?
Having a wider range helps signers get noticed more and can help them achieve popularity as they stand out more among the rest.
Being able to vocalize notes from extreme low to extreme high is the capability that is mainly attributed to having access to multiple octaves.
In addition, the artists also need to be mindful of what they do with each note within the vocal compass: diction, delivery, projection, expression.
All these components come into play in making a performance great.
— Maria (@200Metal) August 13, 2021
Does Adam Lambert have the same vocal range as Freddie Mercury?
Queen’s guitarist Brian May has stated that Adam Lambert, who currently sings for Queen, possesses a wider vocal range than Freddie Mercury.
Lambert came onto the scene with his American Idol audition in 2009, where he sang Bohemian Rhapsody by the band Queen.
Coincidentally, Brian May (guitarist of Queen) watched this audition and was highly impressed by the voice of this young performer.
Two years later, Adam was invited to attend a show in Belfast along with Queen. The idea to collaborate sprung immediately.
And Adam Lambert became the main vocalist.
Lambert has been touring with Queen for the past several years. And they were named Best Live Act of 2012 by Gigqwise.
Brian stated that Adam has an uncanny gift for interpreting Freddie Mercury’s songs saying his voice has a sensitive depth and great maturity and range.
Brian May told Universal Music:
“We didn’t look for this guy, suddenly he’s there, and he can sing all of those lines. See, they’re difficult songs to sing, Queen songs. He can sing higher than Freddie could in a live situation”.
You can find tons of videos comparing the two singers. But I believe both are fantastic for different reasons. But I am a bigger fan of Freddie because he was the first to create the legendary sound. And of course, Freddie also played amazing piano parts with Queen, while Lambert doesn’t play any instruments.
The Secrets Behind Freddie Mercury's Legendary Voice
When someone talks about 4-octaves vocal range in rock and roll, Freddie Mercury’s name jumps immediately to mind.
While much of our singing abilities are attributed to our biological inheritances, Freddie’s case was a genetic defect.
Born with four extra teeth, Freddie believed this defect somehow aided his vocal range to achieve the particular resonance and the ability to extend his octaves. Musicians in this range are rare because producing a note in it is different and singing in this range is diverse.
But even among vocalists with a 4-octave range, Mercury was the rarest of the rare.
Regarded as one of the greatest singers in the history of rock music, he was known for his flamboyant stage persona and four-octave vocal range. Mercury defied the conventions of a rock frontman with his theatrical style, influencing the artistic direction of Queen.Did Freddie Mercury have a 4 octave range? ›
While David Bowie and Freddie Mercury both had ranges spanning four octaves, Prince could hit a gobsmacking B6.How many octaves did Freddie Mercury sing in? ›
One study on Freddie's vocal range even confirmed that he was able to vary from about 92.2 Hz to 784 Hz, meaning he was reliably able to hit notes from the booming low of F#2 to the high pitch G5 – that covers a full three octaves!Who had a four-octave voice? ›
But he made the most of every single one of those notes and had an amazing falsetto, not to mention an incredible performance style. Another male pop singer with a great range (4 octaves) whose name you may not instantly recognise is Brendan Urie, the lead singer of Panic! At the Disco.Who can sing 7 octaves? ›
The seventh octave is the range of notes between C7 and C8. It is easier for very high coloratura sopranos to sing in this octave, but some people who are capable of singing in the bass range (like singers Adam Lopez, Virgo Degan, Nicola Sedda or Dimash Kudaibergen) can do it.What was Whitney Houston's octave range? ›
Houston's range spanned five octaves and her voice was plush, vibrant and often spectacular.Did Freddie's teeth help him sing? ›
It turns out that Freddie's voice didn't arise from extra teeth or a big mouth, but from his use of a body part that's usually not accessed – the so-called “false” vocal cords.Who can sing all 8 octaves? ›
|Chanté Moore||8 octaves|
|Minnie Riperton||7 octaves|
|Mike Patton||6 octaves|
Killer Queen has an extremely wide vocal range – Freddie Mercury sings over two octaves from D above middle C, to a high F. This is achieved with the use of his falsetto voice.What is Celine Dion octave range? ›
Celine is well-known to have a 5-octave vocal range which is considered as one of the most powerful voices in pop music.
Mercury had a vocal range of over four octaves and was known for his ability to hit high notes with incredible precision. While there is no concrete evidence that he had perfect pitch, it is likely that he had a very developed sense of relative pitch, which is the ability to identify the distance between two notes.Is 4 octaves impressive? ›
Four octaves is pretty impressive actually, especially for your age. If you can really repeat the actual notes in the right registers (not octave lower or higher), that is.What singer can hit the most octaves? ›
Based on the findings, Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose has demonstrated the greatest vocal range in studio. Mariah Carey comes in second, followed by Prince, Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Christina Aguilera and David Bowie.Can anyone sing 10 octaves? ›
The widest vocal range of any human is 10 octaves ranging from G/G#-5 to G/G#5 (0.7973 Hz - 807.3 Hz), achieved by Tim Storms (USA) at Citywalk Studios in Branson, Missouri, USA, on 1 August 2008. Mr. Storms also holds the record for the lowest vocal note.Who hit the highest note ever? ›
The highest note on record is a G10 sung by Georgia Brown, a Brazilian dance/electric singer.
Franklin's four-octave range and mastery of melisma made her a force to be reckoned with both on record and on the stage.What was Michael Jackson octave range? ›
Michael Jackson: Vocal Profile/ Range [High Tenor/ 4 Octaves]What's Beyonce's vocal range? ›
A typical mezzo-soprano can sing from G3 to A5, but Beyonce reaches further on the lower and higher ends. She's been recorded singing in the studio from B2 to E6 with live performances that may stretch even further.How did Freddie Mercury sing so high? ›
According to his research, the key lies in Mercury's vibrato, which differs slightly from those of other classically trained singers. "Usually, you can sing a straight tone, but opera singers try to modulate the fundamental frequencies," he says. "So they make the tone, if you like, a bit more vibrant.
Rolling Stone ranked Mercury 18th on its list of the Greatest Singers of All Time, but many fans, as well as rock critics, would angrily take to the streets to protest that lowly ranking.Why is Bohemian Rhapsody so hard to sing? ›
BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY by Queen
But let's face it, Bohemian Rhapsody is just impossible to sing by yourself because of those multiple voices that are essential to the song. So, we recommend you take some friends with you, grab the mic, and just bring it on.
Storms also holds the record for the widest vocal range of any human at 10 octaves, ranging from G/G#-5 to G/G#5 (0.7973 Hz – 807.3 Hz). Listen to Storms sing below.How many octaves did Janis Joplin sing? ›
Joplin had a powerful and commanding voice. In her live performances she was focused and uninhibited, showcasing a broad palette of distinctive vocal timbres coupled with a fast vibrato. With her three-octave range, she used raspy growls, wails and screams to express raw emotion.Are there 7 octaves? ›
A standard modern upright, grand or digital piano has seven and a quarter octaves; seven full octaves, and three extra treble notes; B-flat, B and C. That's a total of 88 keys.Who has the lowest vocals ever? ›
In spring 2012, De profundis inspired a worldwide search for the lowest human voice in existence. The piece features a low E which, at 329 Hertz, is six notes below the lowest note ever previously written for a choral piece (the latter is a B flat featured in Rachmaninov's Vespers / All-Night Vigil).What octave do sopranos sing? ›
|These ranges correspond to the following:|
|High voice||Medium voice||Low voice|
|Soprano: C4-A5||Mezzo soprano: A3-F5||Alto: F3-D5|
|Tenor: B2-G4||Baritone: G2-E4||Bass: E2-C4|
|Artist / From:||Queen (artist vocal range)|
|Original Key:||Bb Major|
|Difficulty in Original Key:|
|Difficulty in optimal Key:|
What is Britney Spears vocal range? Britney Spears has a vocal range of approximately three octaves and a minor third, spanning B2 to C#6. What is Britney Spears voice type or vocal fach? Britney Spears is a lyric mezzo-soprano, although she purposefully sang like a soprano for most of her career.What octave range does Adele have? ›
How Many Octaves Can Adele Sing? Adele's vocal range spans three full octaves, from a low C3 to a high C6. She really shines in her lower-range and mid-range belts and head voice, delivering a lot of emotional intensity to her performances.
Christina has a phenomenal range, spanning four octaves from around C3 to C7. In her Carpool Karaoke sketch she reaches an F6, putting her 'limitations' down to the fact that “it's daytime”. An F6, by the way, is what Mozart's Queen of the Night sings.Did Michael Jackson have perfect pitch? ›
Which musicians and singers have perfect pitch? Some of the greatest classical composers, including Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and Handel all had perfect pitch; and it's not so rare in the pop world either. Mariah Carey has it, as did Michael Jackson, Ella Fitzgerald and Bing Crosby.Is Freddie Mercury a musical genius? ›
There is no doubt that Freddie Mercury was a genius: it's clear in his music, his theatrical performances, and his eccentrically stylised persona.Did Freddie Mercury use falsetto? ›
Described as “a force of nature with the velocity of a hurricane", Freddie Mercury's powerful voice along with his famous grovel and piercing falsetto has been celebrated by generations of rock aficionados. But what was most recognised was his vocal range, which was rumoured to be four octaves.What was Julie Andrews vocal range? ›
Andrews' chief asset? That glorious soprano voice. She reportedly had a five-octave range during the height of her powers as a singer. For comparison, the great Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti had a four-octave range.Which pop singers have a 4 octave range? ›
- Eric Adams (musician)
- Christina Aguilera.
- Hanna Ahroni.
- Julie Andrews.
About 2 to 3 octaves, but for some artists it can reach further, such as Mariah Carey who has a 5-octave vocal range. Vocal ranges are categorized into six main groups. The way these groups are defined come in handy when singing traditional, arranged music.How many octaves can Lady Gaga hit? ›
Lady Gaga's vocal range is approximately three octaves, spanning A2 – G5 – B5.What is Ariana Grande's octave range? ›
How Many Octaves Can Ariana Sing? Ariana is one of the most popular vocal stars in the current pop music era that is known for her insane upper register. She has a killer range that spans 4 octaves. While she has great whistle-tone notes, she is flexible in her lower range as well.How many octaves can Taylor Swift sing? ›
How Many Octaves Can Taylor Swift Sing? Taylor's vocal range is around three octaves, from a low A2 to an E5. Her high notes are mostly done in her head voice instead of belts in her chest voice, which are more commonly performed in her lower register.
A countertenor is a male singer who can sing as high as a soprano or mezzo-soprano. The countertenor is the rarest of all voice types.How many octaves is Billie Eilish? ›
How many octaves can Billie Eilish sing? Looking at her music, Eilish has a 2.5 octave range from D3-A5.What is the hardest song to sing? ›
- 8. “ ...
- 7. “ Supermassive Black Hole” by Muse.
- 6. “ Livin' on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi.
- 5. “ Fix You” by Coldplay.
- 4. “ Chandelier” by Sia.
- 3. “ All By Myself” by Celine Dion.
- 2. “ Stay With Me” by Sam Smith.
- 1. “ Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.
Mariah Carey can sing at least up to G#7, the second G# above “soprano C” (C6), and nearly 4 octaves above “Middle C” (C4).Who has the best voice in the world male? ›
The greatest frontman of all time, also just so happened to possess the greatest male voice of all time. Freddie Mercury was able to perfectly tackle rock, pop, jazz, opera, soul, folk, you name it.
He was able to identify pitches accurately, which helped him to create his own unique style of music. Elvis' perfect pitch was just one of the many factors that contributed to his success. The singing range of Elvis Presley was quite extensive, ranging from three octaves to a full seven.What happened to Adele voice? ›
Grammy Award winner and platinum vocal artist Adele underwent vocal cord surgery in October 2011 to alleviate recurrent hemorrhaging caused by a benign polyp on her vocal cord.What was Bohemian Rhapsody's vocal range? ›
The singer had an impressive 37 semi-tone vocal range, but Mercury's pitch range was not the most important aspect of his voice.What is Lady Gaga's octave range? ›
Lady Gaga's vocal range is from F#2 – G5 – C6 or E7 with the most extensive note of 20 sec (in the Abramovic method). Her vocal type is Mezzo-Soprano with 3 octaves and three notes; however, Contralto is a misperception about her.What was Aretha Franklin's vocal range? ›
Franklin's four-octave range and mastery of melisma made her a force to be reckoned with both on record and on the stage.
How Many Octaves Can Beyonce Sing? Beyonce's voice spans a little less than 4 octaves, which is extremely impressive for any singer. Her high whistle tones are on par with greats, including Mariah Carey and Ariana Grande.What vocal range was Jackie and Wilson? ›
A tenor with a four-octave vocal range, Jackie Wilson was one of the most talented and dynamic R&B singers of the 1950s and 1960s. Nicknamed “Mr. Excitement,” Wilson was a charismatic, masterful performer who consistently released hits.Why could Freddie sing so well? ›
According to his research, the key lies in Mercury's vibrato, which differs slightly from those of other classically trained singers. "Usually, you can sing a straight tone, but opera singers try to modulate the fundamental frequencies," he says. "So they make the tone, if you like, a bit more vibrant.Did Freddie Mercury have a powerful voice? ›
They also found that Freddie's vocal cords moved faster than most people's. While a typical vibrato will fluctuate between 5.4 Hz and 6.9 Hz, Mercury's was a massive 7.04 Hz. All in all, Freddie Mercury had one of the most powerful voices ever known.Did Freddie Mercury have perfect pitch? ›
Freddie Mercury, also known as one of the greatest entertainers ever, is famed for his exquisite singing style, vocal range, and perfect pitch. The Queen frontman had a distinctive voice and an incredible ear for music that could never be replicated.What vocal range is star spangled? ›
First and most obvious, the Star Spangled Banner is a song composed with a fairly extensive vocal range. When performed in the key of 'B flat', the melodic range of the song is from a 'B flat' below middle 'C' to a high 'F'. The total range of the piece is an octave and a half.What was Barbra Streisand's octave range? ›
Comfortably spanning just over three octaves, Streisand's voice has something of a rounded, nasal quality to it, something emphasised by Streisand's frequent use of vibrato.