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Logoped Phoniatr Vocol. 2017 Apr;42(1):29-38. doi: 10.3109/14015439.2016.1156737. Epub 2016 Apr 15.

Freddie Mercury-acoustic analysis of speaking fundamental frequency, vibrato, and subharmonics.

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a Voice Research Lab, Department of Biophysics, Faculty of Science , Palacký University Olomouc , 17. listopadu 12, 771 46 Olomouc , Czech Republic.
b Department of Otolaryngology , Head and Neck Surgery B53, Clinical Sciences and Intervention, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska University Hospital , 141 86 Stockholm , Sweden.
c Voice Centre Stockholm AB, Zangger Vocal Art , Box 4342 , 102 67 Stockholm , Sweden.


Freddie Mercury was one of the twentieth century's best-known singers of commercial contemporary music. This study presents an acoustical analysis of his voice production and singing style, based on perceptual and quantitative analysis of publicly available sound recordings. Analysis of six interviews revealed a median speaking fundamental frequency of 117.3 Hz, which is typically found for a baritone voice. Analysis of voice tracks isolated from full band recordings suggested that the singing voice range was 37 semitones within the pitch range of F#2 (about 92.2 Hz) to G5 (about 784 Hz). Evidence for higher phonations up to a fundamental frequency of 1,347 Hz was not deemed reliable. Analysis of 240 sustained notes from 21 a-cappella recordings revealed a surprisingly high mean fundamental frequency modulation rate (vibrato) of 7.0 Hz, reaching the range of vocal tremor. Quantitative analysis utilizing a newly introduced parameter to assess the regularity of vocal vibrato corroborated its perceptually irregular nature, suggesting that vibrato (ir)regularity is a distinctive feature of the singing voice. Imitation of subharmonic phonation samples by a professional rock singer, documented by endoscopic high-speed video at 4,132 frames per second, revealed a 3:1 frequency locked vibratory pattern of vocal folds and ventricular folds.


Freddie Mercury; Queen; singing voice range; speaking fundamental frequency; subharmonics; ventricular folds; vibrato; voice quality

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