May 20, 2014


Science Says Rihanna, Miley Have Greater Vocal Range Than Lady Gaga

Getty Images, 3
Getty Images, 3

Do you like Rihanna more than Lady Gaga? Well, it looks like science might have your back.

Despite Gaga's tirade against lip syncing and her undeniably full-bodied voice, a new study claims that when it comes to vocal range, Gaga is far from the best.

Measuring the highest and lowest notes a performer has successfully nailed in the recording studio, a fascinating new chart (h/t Uproxx) ranks some of rock, pop and soul's greatest singers based on their vocal range.

Not only does Rihanna outpace Mother Monster's vocal range, but Miley Cyrus can actually cover more ground than LG. Gaga finds herself in the middle of this list, right below Neil Young and far below Miley Cyrus. The website Diva Devotee backs this claim up, pointing out that Miley & RiRi both have three-octave voices while Gaga's tops out at 2.7. 

What's equally surprising is the man who tops this list: Axl Rose. At his peak, the Guns N' Roses frontman apparently had more vocal range than anyone else—even more than Mariah Carey, who comes in at No. 2 here.

Rounding out the top 10 with Mariah and Axl are Prince, Steven Tyler, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Christina Aguilera, David Bowie, Paul McCartney and Thom Yorke. At the way bottom of this list are country crooners Taylor Swift and Luke Bryan, whose vocal highs and lows are not too far apart.

Keep in mind this list is about vocal range, not vocal technique. For example, Eminem actually has more vocal range than Gaga—but no one is ever gonna claim he has a better voice than the ARTPOP songstress.

But the list is certainly an argument against devaluing the singing abilities of imperfect vocalists like Bob Dylan and Iggy Pop. Both gravel-voiced singers actually display a wider vocal range than more lauded vocalists like Whitney Houston, Rod Stewart and Janis Joplin. 

As for disappointed Little Monsters, they can at least take consolation in one thing: Madonna's not even on this list of "world's greatest singers."