This is an interesting question that almost everyone has asked themselves at least once – everyone who remembers hearing a song, that is. Just like “why are we here” and “what is the meaning of life”, there is no single answer to this question. What is more, it is a controversial one as people who aren’t music professionals will tend to choose their favorite genre. Metal fans will say black and death are the hardest to sing because the singer has to weave in heavy and sometimes incongruous beats and lend unity to a piece, plus the high-pitched and/or growling sounds can’t be produced by just anyone. Pop fans will beg to differ, citing Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston as examples. These divas are considered R&B/pop singers after all. Of course, many will say opera is the hardest, some will say jazz and gospel…then there are all the subgenres of rap and hip-hop, electronic music, techno music, and so on.
Generally, R&B is harder than pop and rock because it requires more agility and dynamic range. Some say jazz is the most complicated because of its complex music theory.
The truth is that it isn’t a matter of type of music, but one of vocal range and individual song. According to experts, vocal range means the total number of usable musical pitches. For example, opera singers can only include notes they can project over an orchestra without using a microphone that are within their vocal range. In comparison, a pop artist could include pitches that could be heard over a microphone.
The various vocal production forms are another factor. People can produce sounds by means of different physiological processes. This is an issue of vocal registers. Only four registers have been identified officially. The main one, modal, is used in most singing and normal speech. A song requiring a register beyond that will then be objectively considered more difficult to sing, irrespective of genre. Styles like opera necessitate other registers, like the whistle and falsetto, more commonly than other styles. This is why experts will agree that opera is the most difficult to sing. Laymen like us will argue it is also the most difficult to listen to.