“Is this the real life?/Is this just fantasy?” Did you just sing this in your head? Unless you have lived under a rock since 1975, you would recognize this as the beginning of “Bohemian Rhapsody” sung by the British rock band Queen. This is one of the most popular songs in classic rock history sung by none other than Freddie Mercury, their lead vocalist.
Mercury is known for his powerful voice and range mostly speaking in baritone but singing as a tenor. On April 19, a handful of scientists have found the science behind one of the most powerful voices in rock history.
“One interesting element of Mercury’s singing was how he could sound finessed at times and more rough at others. The researchers noted this may have been due to his vibrato frequency, a few notches above the standard for classically trained vocalists.”
Several scientists from Sweden, the Czech Republic and Austria have gathered data and studied Mercury’s voice. They say that he uses “sub harmonics” in his singing by vibrating his ventricular folds. Ventricular folds are located just above the vocal cords.
The data report was able to pin point his lowest range that was recorded and the highest note he hit that was recorded. “Don’t Try Suicide” from their 1980 album The Game and “Hang on in There” from The Miracle, respectively.
The data report has some very interesting information as well as some confusing formulas. If you are a music, Queen or Freddie Mercury fan, it is well worth the look. Science and classic rock merging is a beautiful thing.
Here are some more Queen tunes that really show not only Freddie Mercury’s vocal power, but the talents of Brian May, John Deacon, and Roger Taylor all coming together.
(The third link is not a Queen song. It is Mercury singing with world famous opera singer Montserrat Caballé and well worth the listen)