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How Low Can You Go?

Posted by Team APATA | Feb 5, 2021

Tim Storms is officially the world’s record-breaking bass singer since 2012 and holds the record in the Guinness World Records. When composer Paul Mealor wrote his piece De Profundis, containing the lowest note ever written in a piece of classical music, it prompted an international competition to find a singer capable of performing the work. Not only did singer Tim Storms smash the ‘Bass Hunter’ competition, but it was announced that he has the lowest voice in the world.

So how do you train your voice to be so low? What is the lowest note?

The lowest note produced by a human is a G-7 (0.189 Hz). Storms is the bass singer for the vocal group ‘Pierce Arrow’. The attempt was witnessed by two college music professors and an acoustician. The frequency output of Tim’s voice was measured using Bruel & Kjaer equipment (low frequency microphone, precision sound analyser and laptop for post analysis). Additionally, Storms also holds the world record for “widest vocal range”, a G−7 (0.189 Hz) to G/G#5.

So what exactly is a bass singer? 

A bass singer is not to be confused with a bassist. A bassist is one who plays the bass guitar. The 8 voice types, from lowest to highest are as follows:

  1. Bass / 2. Baritone / 3.Tenor / 4. CounterTenor / 5. ContraAlto / 6. Alto / 7. Mezzo Soprano / 8. Soprano

Bass singers are very rare and unique. You don’t come across someone with such a deep voice every day. The technical aspects of how to sing bass are often not the most practised or preferred by many vocalists, however learning bass voice singing will assist a singer to expand the lower section of their vocal range. A good bass range is normally from around E2 to E4. Even though this is one of the most conservative range, some musical, operatic roles lower the range further. Of all voice types, Bass is not only the lowest vocal range but also the lowest tessitura. C2 is the most extreme low range for bases. However, some extreme bass singers popularly known as oktavists and profondos can sing at a much lower range than this. If you are a new singer that wants to learn how to sing bass, try singing with new vocals and instruments that match your voice.

A Bass-baritone is the low-lying classical bass that shares several qualities with the Baritone-voice which is normally distinguished by two attributes. First, the voice must have a ripely resonant lower-range that is associated with a bass voice. Secondly, the bass voice must be capable of singing comfortably with a baritone tessitura.

A Basso Profundo is a type of bass that is associated with the lowest vocal range. It normally falls in the category of thicker and lower instruments of the vocal fach. With this type of bass, most singers find it difficult to sustain with their voice. A Bass Profundo requires one to have the ability to sing notes in a bit lower register.

The lyrical bass is also known as Basso Cantabile, and it’s a type of a bass that can sustain a higher Tessitura than Bass Profundo. In the low registers and lower-middle, this bass dark reflects a darker color that is more lyrical. The Lyrical bass is flexible and can be sung more easily in the upper Tessitura.

Like all things it comes down to practice…practice…and more practice.

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