Do you love listening to artists sing crazy high notes and wonder how they manage it? Being able to sing in nearly any key is certainly a big benefit in the music industry, but who has the best vocal range and which singer has the most octaves?
The singers with the best vocal range span many octaves with apparent ease. They take on a wide variety of songs and blow audiences away with what they can do. Most were born with a natural ability to go very high or low, but many have had to work at it too.
In this article, you’ll discover which artists can sing the most notes – including one who produces sounds too low even for a human to hear. So let’s find out who is off the chart…
Singers with the best vocal range
When we talk about vocal range, there are usually a few famous names who jump immediately to mind. Some artists build their ability into their songwriting, while others ad lib vocally using vocal runs to leave us in no doubt as to what they can do.
While much of what they can do comes down to how stiff or stretchy their vocal cords are, it’s also something that can be worked upon and improved.
Which singer has the most octaves?
The singer who can hit the most octaves on record isn’t actually a famous person. But more on that later. For now, let’s find out who has the biggest range of all in well-known pop, rock and indie music.
Singers with a 6-octave range – who can sing 6 octaves?
Spanning six octaves is an eye-watering feat. And to sing this amount of notes artists will use a number of techniques including falsetto, vocal fry or whistle register. Be careful of trying to copy this. If you want to harness these kinds of skills, you should work with an experienced vocal coach to ensure you protect your voice.
If you do decide to try and extend further, whistling is the best way to access another register for women. Watch this tutorial or discuss how to work on these tones with your vocal coach.
Singers who really have a 6 octave range are Adam Lopez (6 octaves and 3 semitones) and Dimash (A1 – D8, 6 octaves and 5 semitones). In 2019, Dimash was presented by CBS on The World’s Best as “the man with the world’s widest vocal range”
Mike Patton vocal range
Our first famous name isn’t the most well-known of the crop. Although the name of the band is. He’s best known as the lead singer for Faith No More, but after the band broke up in the late 1990s, he sang with Fantomas and Tomahawk. And his time with Faith No More was overlapped with his time in Mr Bungle. Patton is also an accomplished music composer, cementing his place on the musical map.
The vocal range of famous singers
Some of the singers in our list can manage double the number of notes that are usually available in the vocal register normally. It stands to reason that famous and professional singers can cover more octaves. The voice is flexible and vocal range increases with practice – something these guys are doing constantly.
But many of these internationally acclaimed vocalists climbed the musical ladder by capitalising on their ability to master a huge range. Using ethereal spine-tingling sounds, or earthy, rich and deep tones, they continually top the charts and fill stadiums.
Female singers with a 6-octave range
There tend to be fewer women than men in this category, as falsetto and vocal fry open up additional registers for guys.
Singers with a 5-octave rang
There are more singers who manage 5-octaves, but this is still considered to be a major achievement and requires some serious technique and natural capacity.
Axl Rose vocal range
Next up is this American singer-songwriter, composer, record producer and musician. He’s the only member of Guns N Roses to have stayed since their inception in 1985. Axl Rose flies up and down the octaves, adding variety and depth to the band’s array of hit numbers.
Mariah Carey vocal range
Perhaps the first person that comes to mind is this stalwart of pop and big ballads. Mariah takes a special place in this category, as while she may not have the biggest range in music, she does have the highest among famous singers – and by a long way.
She is a prolific user of the whistle register and was frequently compared to another big range singer, Whitney Houston (another 5-octave singer who had 11 number one hits). Mariah is the best-selling female performer of all time, with a voice that has been described as elastic.
Other big names in this category are Shanice, Prince and Kyo, plus jazz singer Rachelle Ferrell.
Singers with a 4-octave range
In at 4-octaves are some familiar voices on the current music scene.
Christina Aguilera octave range
Christina doesn’t quite reach Mariah’s dizzy heights, but she’s not far short. She’s a lyric mezzo-soprano, with the same range of pop rival Britney Spears. Her vocal has earned her five Grammy awards and a place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Brendon Urie vocal range
This is another singer whose name you may not instantly recognise, but whose and you will. Urie is the lead singer of Panic! At the Disco. He’s a versatile artist, has dueted with Taylor Swift and also writes music.
How many octaves can Ariana Grande sing?
Another 4-octave singer is Ariane Grande. And what makes this female star especially remarkable is that she has no formal training. Although as a French Horn player, she already had a good grounding in breath control, the foundation for singing.
She also uses her whistle register to hit very high notes, a technique that can damage the voice if not done properly. Singing runs in Ariane’s family, with her half-brother Frankie, an accomplished musical theatre performer.
Singers with a 3-octave range and singers with a 2-octave range
This takes us into more ‘normal’ territory and the kind of range that we can all expect to achieve with work.
Celine Dion octave range
The French Canadian diva has a beautiful resonant belt across 3-octaves with a lovely lower range. She has quite a nasal quality which adds to her distinctiveness but isn’t to everyone’s taste.
Another lyric soprano, she has excellent skills in modulation (changing and adjusting your voice – like jumping a key, or dropping to a whisper). This helps create a dramatic sound that suits her Las Vegas residency.
Here’s Celine in action.
Other famous 2 and 3-octave artists include Elvis Presley, Cheryl Cole, Beyonce and Chris Martin.
The vocal range chart: highest to the lowest vocal range scale
If you want to compare side by side and see exactly what notes these ranges comprise, check out this infographic. When we think of vocal range, we often think about singers who can hit really high notes. But many make the list with their chest voices too. In this respect, many of the mid-range singers manage more notes.
How do you match up?
Vocal range chart – singers who rock
The best vocal range in rock – tenor vocal range
You may be surprised to learn that the singers with the highest vocal range, are rock singers and usually tenors. Not pop divas or opera chanteuses, but rockers. And why is this? Because rock requires techniques like vocal fry and falsetto, that take singers to both lower and higher levels than the modal register.
Who has the highest vocal range in singers?
Axl Rose of Guns N Roses and Mike Patton of Faith No More top the charts among famous singers with great vocal range.
Largest vocal range world record
But it’s not Rose or Patton who hold the title in this regard. No doubt you’ll be astounded to hear that the Guinness World Record holder for the largest vocal range (and for hitting the lowest recorded note), can sing an utterly eye-watering ten octaves. So who is this singer who defies nature?
What male singer has the best vocal range?
The singer with the best vocal range is male. He is an American vocalist called Tim Storms from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Apparently he hits notes so low only animals the size of elephants can hear them. Storms can sing a whopping number of notes – G/G#-5 to G/G#5 (0.7973 Hz – 807.3 Hz), as recorded for posterity at Citywalk Studios in Branson Missouri, on 1st August 2008.
He has a recording contract. But as you probably haven’t heard of him, and he’s certainly not a household name, it goes to show that vocal range isn’t everything when it comes to making it as a recording artist.
Using a vocal range test and vocal range calculator
You’re probably keen to work out how you shape up in comparison to these famous artists. And it’s easy to find out. You could ask your vocal coach or singing teacher to tell you what notes you can sing. Or you can play through a scale to find out where your voice is comfortable, noting as you go.
If during these tests you discover you have a range of four octaves or more, make sure to find songs that showcase all the notes you can sing. Producers, songwriters and labels are always keen to find singers with this kind of capability, so provided you have good tone, technique and performance style, you may be a step ahead of the rest.
What is a good vocal range for a male singer?
2-octaves would be average for a guy, but some have more or less. Three and above is considered good. Add some falsetto and vocal fry to your technique and you should be able to add an octave to your range, whatever your starting point. Freddie Mercury only scored just over 3-octaves but made the most of every single one of those notes.
What is a good vocal range for a female singer?
To prove you don’t need a huge range to be famous, Adele performs well within a ‘normal’ spectrum of notes across 2-octaves. Her range deepened some while she was pregnant. But her stunning sounds don’t rely on any vocal acrobatics.
Not everyone suits vocal runs and whistling, so don’t be downhearted if this is out of reach for you. And by writing your own music you can ensure you sing notes that really suit you and show off your vocal ability.
The singers we’ve talked about here are top of their vocal game and usually have to keep singing to retain so many octaves. If you’re naturally blessed with lots of notes, then, like Mariah, do make sure you make song choices that show off your ability. We can’t all be Axl Rose or Ariana Grande, but we can certainly enjoy their stunning sounds.
- Is 2 octaves a good vocal range?
Two octaves is below average for both men and women. So you have plenty of room for development. Over time you should be able to gain at least another octave. Focus on quality not quantity though. Don’t stretch your voice at the expense of your tone and sound.
- What singer has my vocal range?
First, you’ll need to find out your own range. Ask your singing teacher what this is, or do a vocal range test. Once you know how many octaves and notes you can sing, compare it to the lists and charts of famous artists’ ranges that we’ve included in this article.
- How many octaves are in Dimash’s songs?
Kazakh singer-songwriter Dimash Kudaibergen uses vocal fry and chest voice to sing and creates songs with a huge range. If you want to take on his music, you’ll need to put a lot of work into increasing your range.
Do you prefer to listen to the singers with the best vocal range? Who is your musical hero or heroine who you think is off the chart vocally? Tell us in the comments section below.