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BronxLens's avatar

How do you explain a vocal range over three octaves?

Asked by BronxLens (1539points) November 3rd, 2008

The songstress Yma Sumac , who died on Saturday, was reported as having an extreme vocal range, “well over three octaves”. For someone with no music playing/reading skills, how can you explain this so as to appreciate this feat? How does that compare with say Mariah Carey’s high pitch singing or an opera singer like Maria Calla or other modern opera singer?

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7 Answers

MacBean's avatar

Wikipedia’s article on vocal range is actually pretty informative and not difficult to understand, I think.

breedmitch's avatar

Yma Sumac (like Mariah Carey) count “whistle tone” which is not actually singing. Many opera singers, however do have a three+ octave range.

cwilbur's avatar

A singer with a vocal range over three octaves is like a basketball player with an armspan of over six feet. It’s impressive in a freak-of-nature sort of way, but what matters more is what he or she does with that ability.

Comedian's avatar

how many exactly? I have a little over 4 octives

lovelace's avatar

talented! that’s what i call it.

marmoset's avatar

I say whistle register totally counts as singing… it’s legit when the Queen of the Night uses it, and it’s legit when Mariah Carey uses it. I think I see where you’re coming from because it’s not physically controlled in the same way, but clearly in both of those cases it’s controllable in terms of pitch and duration…

Guys who develop and use their head voice / falsetto will naturally have a 3+ octave range too. Think Thom Yorke, the Radiohead guy, and other ‘floaty’ sounding pop guys…

YARNLADY's avatar

Simple – talent

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