It’s no secret. Queen’s front man, the electrifying Freddie Mercury, had a tremendous voice; it’s been described as “a force of nature with the velocity of a hurricane”. It’s even been studied by scientists!
According to Dr. Christian Herbst, the lead author of the study, “Freddie Mercury was an incredibly skilful and versatile singer, capable of a wide range of artistic vocal expressions. Naturally, I was interested in objectively describing his singing style with adequate empirical methods: not only on an acoustical level, but also attempting to understand what went on in the larynx.”
Dr Herbst and his colleagues discovered that Mercury’s vibrato frequency was slightly higher than that of a classically trained singer. They also discovered evidence of subharmonics (basically, the frequencies below the main frequency of a signal) in his voice. According to the researchers, the use of subharmonics “aids in creating the impression of a sound production system driven to its limits, even while used with great finesse. These traits, in combination with the fast and irregular vibrato, might have helped create Freddie Mercury’s eccentric and flamboyant stage persona.”
And what a stage persona that was. The man covered every inch of the stage, owning it with grace and ease. I consider myself very lucky, having seen him and Queen live, in concert.
This video has only the vocals of ‘Somebody to Love’ – enjoy a piece of pure magic.