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
Here's a list of famous singers 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!
As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, features, nursery rhymes, and DJ drops, she currently spends her time engulfed in creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her most recent creative collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest music releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share the music if you like it!
If you are ever in need of singer, songwriter or song producer services for your music project or brand, see what Yona Marie can offer you on her song services page. As an Amazon Associate, Yona Marie earns from qualifying purchases. Amazon and other affiliate products are recommended to genuinely help readers and keep this site up and running as well.