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I'm trying to understand what really makes your voice, well, uniquely yours. How do some voice actors copy and impersonate celebrities' voice, or even their singing voice?

For example, this guy sounds pretty much like Freddie Mercury.

This is another clip comparing his voice to Freddie's voice.

Is it because of pitch, amplitude, frequency etc.? I'm not sure where to start.

Thanks!

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  • He doesn't have the depth & resonance of Freddie. Even the recent movie mentions he has 'a big mouth'… which was all a part of it. Cavernous mouth == massive resonant capabilities (though there's more to it than just that). You can always reduce that resonance, but you can never increase it [without some fairly serious surgery ;) – Tetsujin Apr 7 at 16:40
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Tone and timbre are absolutely key here, but also inflections, vibrato, stresses, breathing, power, in fact there are a huge range of factors that make you sound like you.

The spectral pitch clip you show above demonstrates elements of this - where the narrator mentions fundamental and overtones, the balance of amplitudes of these give the tone or timbre. You can also see the lead in to each note - does the singer hit it exactly or bend up or down to it.

In fact videos like that one are good at answering your question - much better than the answers we can give here. If you wanted to be able to impersonate another singer you would need to be able to produce the same harmonics at the same amplitudes as them by altering your body's resonances (your chest, throat, nose all have a part to play in this) - there are entire training courses on this.

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  • or sometimes you just get [un]lucky… I've spent the last 40 years fending off "You sound just like David Bowie" comments with what is now a practised shrug. I still use it to my advantage if ever there's a karaoke night though - it wins me free beer ;)) – Tetsujin Apr 7 at 16:31
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    One of my singing modes is very Bowie-like as well - I do use it to similar advantage :-) – Rory Alsop Apr 7 at 16:31

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