15:06 GMT +323 July 2018
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    Rock star Freddie Mercury, lead singer of the rock group Queen, during a concert at the Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy. (File)

    Show Must Go On: Secret of Freddie Mercury's Voice Revealed!

    © AFP 2018 / JEAN-CLAUDE COUTAUSSE
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    A group of Austrian, Czech, and Swedish researchers sought out to examine Freddie Mercury’s incredible vocals and confirmed the obvious: the Queen frontman had an unparalleled singing voice.

    In their scientific study that appeared in Friday’s issue of the journal Logopedics Phoniatrics Vocology the authors analyzed archival recordings of Freddie Mercury and those made by a professional rock singer imitating Mercury’s voice.

    There had been speculation that Mercury's range was over four octaves but this could not be substantiated by the study.

    The lead author on the study, Austrian voice scientist Christian Herbst, stated that Mercury's voice range was "normal for a healthy adult – not more, not less."

    Contrary to his popular image, Freddie Mercury was more likely a baritone who sang as a tenor with exceptional control over his voice production technique.

    He is known to have rejected an offer to sing as baritone in an opera duet with singer Montserrat Caballé because he was worried that his fans would not recognize his voice as a baritone.

    The study examined the intentional distortion Mercury used to produce so-called 'growl' sounds. The team brought in a professional rock singer to imitate Mercury’s special type of singing.

    They filmed his larynx with a high-speed camera at over 4,000 frames per second in order to look at how exactly the Queen front man created his famous rough growls.

    The authors discovered that Mercury likely employed subharmonics, a singing style where the ventricular folds vibrate along with the vocal folds like in the case of Tuvan throat singers.

    Queen are an English rock band, formed in 1970 by friends Freddie Mercury, Brian May and Roger Taylor. One of the most successful rock outfits of all time, Queen released a total of 18 number one albums and performed for packed audiences worldwide until Freddie Mercury died in 1991.

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