New scientific study confirms the obvious: Freddie Mercury had an unparalleled singing voice
A group of Austrian, Czech, and Swedish researchers sought out to examine the Queen singer’s incredible vocals
It’s true that without a living test subject, the researchers’ conclusions are largely unconformable. To get closer to the truth, however, the team brought in professional rock singer Daniel Zangger-Borch to imitate Mercury’s voice. They filmed his larynx at 4,000 frames per second in order to look at how exactly the Queen frontman created those iconic rough growls and jaw-dropping vibratos. What they discovered was that he likely employed subharmonics, a singing style where the ventricular folds vibrate along with the vocal folds. Most humans never speak or sing with their ventricular folds unless they’re Tuvan throat singers, so the fact that this popular rock vocalist was probably dealing with subharmonics is pretty incredible.
What’s more, Mercury’s vocal chords just moved faster than other people’s. While a typical vibrato will fluctuate between 5.4 Hz and 6.9 Hz, Mercury’s was 7.04 Hz. To look at that in a more scientific way, a perfect sine wave for vibrato assumes the value of 1, which is pretty close to where famous opera singer Luciano Pavarotti sat. Mercury, on the other hand, averaged a value of 0.57, meaning he was vibrating something in his throat even Pavarotti couldn’t move.
There’s a lot of scientific and analytical music terminology in the full study (which can be read here), but the conclusion was clear from the beginning: Freddie Mercury had a voice unlike anyone else in rock ‘n’ roll, and that led to one of the most unique singers and stage performers of all time.
As they say, the proof is in the pudding: