The 12 Singers with the Highest Vocal Range
Singing is the purest form of music. Whether it is humming a tune in the shower or performing for a crowd, very few activities bring as much joy as singing. While many of us can hold a tune, to sing well is an art that takes years of practice and sometimes, just sheer talent.
It is believed that the average singer has a range of three and sometimes three and a half octaves, anything beyond that is considered somewhat of an incredible feat.
Let’s take a look at some of the singers with the highest vocal ranges and how they have been able to cement their place in musical history with their vocal abilities.
1. Tim Storms
According to the Guinness World Records, Tim Storms of Missouri, USA holds the record for not just the widest vocal range but also the lowest note produced by a human.
Storms’ vocal range not only extends an incredible ten octaves but he can also produce a low G-7 at 0.189Hz. This note is so low that not only is it lower than seven octaves from a standard piano note but it is also infrasonic and cannot be heard by the human ear.
Apart from breaking world records, he has also performed with numerous groups such as Acapella, Rescue, and ABV. His vocal range extends from G/G#-5 to G/G#5.
2. Georgia Brown
The Italian Brazilian singer Georgia Brown holds the Guinness World Record for the highest note ever hit by a human, an incredible G10. Verified at the Aqui Jazz Atelier Music School in Sao Paulo, her vocal range extends to eight octaves. Although she can produce the high G10, this is often considered a frequency since it is above the scope of musical notes.
She currently holds two records, one for the “World’s Highest Note” and another for the “World’s Greatest Vocal Range by a Female”, beating the previous record set by Mariah Carey, who is also on this list.
Brown has recorded three studio albums and an EP, which was released in 2012. Her album ‘Black Nature’ was certified gold in Brazil in 2002. You can hear her vocal chops on her single ‘High Vibration’ released in 2018.
3. Axl Rose
The frontman of Guns N’ Roses has been on the list of one of the greatest singers of all time by various publications such as NME and Rolling Stone Magazine.
Rose impressed both critics and listeners with their debut album ‘Appetite For Destruction’ in 1987 and songs such as ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’, ‘Paradise City’, and ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ are often considered some of the hardest songs to cover for vocalists.
The vocal range of Axl Rose stretches from an impressive F1 to B♭6. The song ‘There Was A Time’ from the album ‘Chinese Democracy’ contains his lowest note at F1 whereas the B♭6 can be heard on the track ‘Ain’t It Fun’ from ‘The Spaghetti Incident?’
Prince was one of the most influential musicians of all time. Not only was he an accomplished guitar player and songwriter, but he also had a vocal range that extended from E2 to B6.
Some of his lowest notes can be heard on the album ‘Diamonds and Pearls’, most notably the song ‘Daddy Pop’. Whereas on songs such as ‘God’ (Purple Rain) you can hear him hit some extremely high notes.
Although sometimes he is incorrectly attributed as a tenor vocalist, he was a lyric baritone and would often sing parts in a higher tone because he had the vocal range to do so comfortably.
5. Dimash Kudaibergen
With a 6-octave range, the Kazakh gained mainstream popularity after winning the Slavianski Bazaar Grand Prix in Belarus in 2015. He gained widespread fame in China as well after his appearance on Hunan TV’s ‘Singer 2017’, where he was the runner-up.
Dimash can not only reach the bottom notes of the baritone but also whistle the very high G#7. His range spans from C2 to D8.
Although known for his extensive use of the whistle register, the main genre of his music is classical crossover. He also dabbles in acting and modeling. In 2019 he was awarded the title ‘Nur Sultan’, a Decree of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
6. Mariah Carey
Often called ‘Songbird Supreme’, Mariah Carey has a range of 5 octaves but can also reach notes higher than the 7th octave. You can hear the extent of her vocal abilities in songs such as ‘Sweetheart’ which has F2 notes and a high G7 in ‘Emotions’.
What makes Mariah Carey truly unique is not just her wide range but also the intricate vocal runs she can perform. Her songs ‘Hero’, ‘All I Want For Christmas’, and ‘Vision of Love’ demonstrate her abilities as a melismatic vocalist and are often considered difficult cover songs for vocalists.
If you are looking for a singer who has complete mastery over the whistle register, then you need to listen to Mariah Carey’s discography.
7. Steven Tyler
Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler is also a fixture on all lists related to the greatest singers of all time. Whether it is hitting a high E6 on the song ‘Crazy’ or a D2 in ‘St.John’, Tyler is often called the ‘Demon of Screaming’ because of his control over high notes.
His vocal range extends from D2 to E6 and his vocal style can be described as a countertenor.
The song ‘Dream On’ remains extremely popular to date owing to not just his soulful vocals but also the incredible range he displays throughout. It is widely believed that his vocal abilities often surpass a trained operatic singer. Perhaps this is why the vocalist always gets cold feet when a band decides to cover an Aerosmith song such as ‘Crying’ or even ‘Living on the Edge’.
8. Christina Aguilera
When Christina Aguilera made her debut with the song ‘Genie In a Bottle’, the world assumed that she was just another pop star. But she has proved all of us wrong.
With a four-octave range that stretches from C3 to C#7, Aguilera is also competent in skillfully using the whistle register. The lowest notes she can hit can be heard in the song ‘I Got Trouble’ whereas some of the highest are heard in ‘The Christmas Song’.
Following the footsteps of her idols Whitney Houston and Etta James, her vocal style can be described as a soprano and she is known to extensively use melisma in her singing.
9. Mike Patton
We often think of Axl Rose or Steven Tyler when it comes to rockers with extensive vocal range, but another addition to everyone’s list should be Faith No More’s Mike Patton. With the ability to reach six octaves, his musical style is a mix of falsetto, opera, and even screaming.
In 2004, Patton beat Axl Rose on Vintage Vinyl News’ list of the octave range of singers in rock and pop music as the number one singer. It is widely believed his range extends from E♭1 to E7.
Apart from Faith No More, he has been a part of bands such as Mr. Bungle and is also a well-respected film composer and record producer.
10. Adam Lopez
The Australian singer and musician Adam Lopez held the Guinness World Record for singing the ‘Highest Vocal Note’ from 2008 to 2018 before his record was smashed by Tim Storms.
Nevertheless, Lopez has an incredible range of six octaves and can also produce notes in the whistle register.
Apart from his solo work on albums such as ‘Showstopper’, ‘Kaleidoscope’, and ‘This Heart of Mine’, he has also sung sessions for artists such as Mariah Carey, Vanessa Amorosi, and Keith Urban.
He can produce D#8 at 4435Hz and the current world record is held by Xiao Lung Wang of China (E8 at 5243Hz).
11. Luciano Pavarotti
Considered the ‘world’s greatest tenor’, Luciano Pavarotti was able to reach an incredibly high F5, making him one of the greatest singers of all time.
While it is a given that classical vocalists often have an incredible range, Pavarotti is best known not just for his tenor style vocal but also for his ability to introduce classical music to a more mainstream audience through his renditions of pieces such as ‘Ave Maria’ and ‘Nessun Dorma’.
Throughout his career, his collaboration with pop icons such as Frank Sinatra, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and Elton John, are examples of his wide range and incredible mastery over vocal music.
12. Freddie Mercury
Whether it’s an F2 in the song ‘All Dead All Dead’ or the high E6 in ‘It’s Late’, Queen’s Freddie Mercury was not just one of the greatest vocalists of all time, but his abilities as a frontman also remain unparalleled.
Mercury’s four-octave range often makes it hard to fit his vocal style into one category. It is a combination of baritone and tenor. He was able to change his voice from a deep and low baritone to a tenor within bars and is often described as having the ability to produce a difficult and intricate ‘coloratura’.
The song ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is a testament to Freddie Mercury’s incredible vocal range as well as songwriting skills.
Whether it’s rock music’s Chris Cornell or pop’s Beyonce, we must remember that vocal range is not the only marker for how talented a singer is. What matters is how strongly and deeply they can feel and emote the words they sing.
While this list is a chance to appreciate the impressive talent of some singers, don’t be disheartened if you are unable to hit as many notes as them. Keep practicing and keep believing in yourself. Work hard on your vocal chops because, at the end of the day, practice makes perfect!