Choral work seeks record-breaking bass singer

By | February 3, 2012

Musical notation for the low EA record company has begun a worldwide search for the singer who can sing a note so low that it is thought never to have been sung before.

Written by Military Wives composer Paul Mealor, the choral work De Profundis includes a low E, which lies more than two octaves below middle C.

It is six semitones below the lowest note found in a mainstream choral work – a B flat in Rachmaninov’s Vespers.

The search for the bass voice will take place via trade magazines and online.

“My setting of De Profundis calls for a rich and powerful voice; a voice that can not only touch the heart with its sincerity and truth, but also make every fabric of the human body resonate as it plunges into the very lowest parts of the vocal spectrum,” said Mealor.

The deepest note ever produced by a human voice is an extremely low F sharp, according to the Guinness Book of Records.

George Menees, a coach driver from America, achieved the feat in 2010 – but it would not be possible to hit the note as part of a normal singing performance.

Mealor was handpicked by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to write the music for last year’s Royal Wedding.

His Christmas hit, Wherever You Are, sung by the Military Wives Choir, became the fastest-selling single in six years. ..

via BBC News – Choral work seeks record-breaking bass singer.

I don’t think this article is correct about the lowest note. Not a single mention of Tim Storms. He sang 8Hz.  The lowest note on standard 88 key tuned to A440 is an A0 = 27.5 HZ.   Tim Storm’s “… record was certified in January 2002[2]. This note is below the range of a human’s hearing ability, two octaves below the lowest B on a piano.”




8 thoughts on “Choral work seeks record-breaking bass singer

  1. Jason

    I’m sorry, but Mr. Mealor does not have a clue about how to write good choral music. I am a bass singer, and I can sing down to the C two octaves below Middle C easily and with a full tone. As the article stated, there are also some basses who can sing down to a whole step below me, to the third Bb below Middle C or ever so slightly lower.

    Keep in mind that these notes are pretty much the limits of the bass voice, because anything sung below these notes have Hz frequencies that vibrate so slowly as to be pretty much useless for singing. To also prove my point, let’s entertain the notion for just a second that there is some ungodly low basso out there who can sing the third E below Middle C the way I sing my low C…easily and with a full tone. Even if there was a basso who could do that, the problem is that the note would-by necessity of the physics of the human voice-be sung so quietly and without any power that you would not hear it in a solo, much less against an entire choir. Think about it: higher pitches travel farther than lower pitches. So even if some basso out there CAN in fact, sing this low, it won’t be of any use because you won’t be able to hear it! (In fact, on most recordings you can only slightly make out the low Bb in the Rachmaninoff piece!)

    1. Axel Fjeld

      ..And then there are recordings – the good recordings – where it is very audible indeed. For instance the premier recording from ’65, or some recordings featuring Vladimir Pasyukov and/or Vladimir Miller.
      Most of the real gruff Russian basses sing down to A/G, and some down to F. And at least two or three sing down to E1, like Yuri Wichniakov. In the US, you have Glenn Miller, who has a full, mean A1 and probably goes deeper.

  2. Axel Fjeld

    Yes, Tim Storms sang 8 Hz in 2002, however: The record low is now an truly extremely ,low F# at 0.393 Hz, set by Roger Menees in 2010. This article calls him George Menees, I dunno what that’s about. But the record is currently 0.393 Hz.

    Jason, man, I myself can hit this E1, and I know personally a man who sings down to C1, a full octave beneath your C2. We both auditioned for this. Quality of tone can always be discussed, but there are certainly basses out there who can do this. 400 men auditioned, 30 got through to the second round, and finally they chose Tim Storms, of course, who sings a full octave below the required note.

    1. Sahara

      Tim Storms is the current Guinness World Record holder for lowest vocal note produced by a male. His record, achieved in March 2012 and certified by Guinness in June 2012, is now 0.189 Hz.

      1. Axel Fjeld

        Haha. They just don’t stop, do they? I wasn’t up to date on the developments. Thanks for the heads up!

  3. preacher55

    I don’t know about Tim’s record, but I’ve heard some of his lowest audible stuff and wasn’t impressed. J.D. was better. So is Mike Holcomb. I can hit a C1 just about anytime I want to and when I’m in real good voice, I have hit a G two pitches off the piano and you can hear it. If anyone doubts me, I have recordings to prove it.

    1. Axel Fjeld

      The thing about Tim, is that he always had a good voice that sounds pleasant, and that coupled with being raised in the electronically enhanced gospel environment, meant he never had to work on resonance or projection. Which is why he sounds quite poor at times, certainly compared to many Russians. De Profundis has been out for some time now, and he just does not convince.

      Anyway that’s great that you have great depth. I want to invite you to this facebook-group so that you can share it with likeminded people (if you’re on facebbok that is). Just click this link:

      Best wishes!

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