Men with the lowest vocal ranges known to humans are also known as bass vocalists. Rich and full of beautiful darkness, a bass vocal tone can send chills right down your spine.
These chills are why bass singers are often cast as the villain in musicals and operas when they have such deep voices to match a character's storyline with.
In the classical music world, basses are often divided into two or three categories. To keep things simple, basses can be divided by bass one or bass two.
For more technical ways to label basses into three different categories in Italian culture, they can be referred to as a Basso profondo, Basso buffo, or a Basso cantante.
A Basso profondo has very low notes, while a Basso cantante is more like a baritone. The Basso buffo is for more comedic basses who are character-acting.
Like the tenor vocal range, finding a true bass is a pretty rare occurrence as well since most men fall in the range right between the two, referred to as the baritone range.
Richness does come from the tenor and baritone vocal range, but the bass is like the glue that holds all the vocal parts together in a choir or polyphonic setting. Similar to the bass guitar in a song, the bass vocal range provides completeness to a chord.
In the same vein, basses must be held to a higher standard for having excellent pitch control since they hold it all together. If a bass goes flat or sharp, the foundation of the chord will feel like it has crumbled within a song.
A bass can usually sing from the range of E2 to E4, right above middle C. The bass clef comes in handy for this range since the notes found on the clef are where basses find their most comfortable singing range in.
It is also common to find basses that prefer not to sing above middle C. Basses sometimes have the gift of a lovely falsetto and can hit soprano notes, but this is more commonly found in baritone and tenor singers.
The actual vocal range for basses differs heavily depending on the cultural music standards. In religious settings in Russia, basses are expected to sing as low as A1, which seems almost impossible until you look into the Guinness World Records.
Singer Tim Storms holds the record for the lowest note ever sung at G7 (eight octaves below the lowest G on the piano).
Related Post: Understanding All Vocal Ranges For Singers
Within the bass vocal range, there are subcategories that help describe specific qualities and characteristics of the voice.
These subcategories include lyric bass, bass-baritone, and basso profondo. Each subcategory represents a different timbre and vocal weight within the bass range.
Bass singers bring a unique artistic interpretation to their performances. Their deep, resonant voices allow for expressive musical storytelling, evoking a sense of power, depth, and emotional impact.
Basses excel in conveying a wide range of emotions, from introspective and melancholic to commanding and authoritative.
Some bass singers possess the ability to perform subharmonic singing, also known as vocal fry or overtone singing.
This technique allows them to produce two pitches simultaneously, creating a unique and mesmerizing sound. It involves manipulating the vocal folds to create additional resonance and harmonics.
Here's a list of famous vocalists that are truly bass legends with rich tones, similar to alto singers. You'll find names from several genres, including pop, rock, soul, and classical music on this list.
Challenge yourself with songs from any of these artists and see how low you can go!
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