The human voice is one of the most versatile and amazing instruments. It is able to produce highly intricate arrays of sounds and pitches. It’s tone can also be modulated to suggest emotions such as anger, surprise, or happiness. And of course it can be used to sing.
Many singers have claimed the ability to sing very high pitches, or very low ones. A music teacher in China named Li Wenxing is trying to beat the record for the largest vocal range – he is currently able to sing across 6 octaves. Here is a video that he created to showcase his ability. When I first saw it, I couldn’t believe that the sound I heard was coming from this man’s voice. Definitely very strange.
Now, Li Wenxing can sing very high, however the Guinness record for the widest vocal range is held by ultra-low bass singer Tim Storms, who also holds the record for the lowest note in the world produced by the voice: a brown-note-busting 8 Hz! 8Hz is actually lower that we can hear, but it can be detected by some audio equipment.
Here is an inverview with Tim and a demonstration of his vocal abilities.
A man named Charles Kellogg who claimed to have a vocal range of an incredible 12.5 octaves could accurately imitate birdcalls. The birdcalls went up past the range of hearing (on the high end). Unfortunately, his claim of 12.5 octaves could never be accurately verified.
Here is a recording from 1917 of him imitating birdcalls with his voice:[audio:charles_kellogg_sounds.mp3]
Pretty freaky, isn’t it?