How Low Can You Go?

I had a chest cold last week, and for a day or two it gave me a deeeep voice. When I wasn’t coughing or having those lousy viral out-of-body experiences, I felt a little like Barry White, with a low rumble coming from my chest. Here’s Barry White doing his secksy voice thing. (Warning: the song lyrics are suggestive — worse, the graphics are deeply cheesy.)

As I was coughing out the remnants of my cold, I had one of those instances of news-coverage-imitating -life-imitating-art. I heard an NPR story about Decca Records, who are on the lookout for someone who can sing a low E, nearly three octaves below middle C. “The note is featured in a new piece called De Profundis (Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord — Psalm) by the Welsh composer Paul Mealor,” sez NPR.

To give you some perspective, that’s almost to the left edge of the piano keyboard, down where all the notes sound like a pissed-off T Rex. NPR even added the score, on the off-off-off chance that would help you sing it:

Just in case you’re musically inept and can’t figure out which note they’re referring to, they even circle it. As much as this amuses me, I really wish they’d added a little “Sing This” note and an arrow.

Know that we know the note is waaay the hell down there, can anyone sing it? To prove it was possible, NPR did something cool. They got back in touch with Roger Menees, the record holder for the lowest note ever sung (NPR profiled him in 2010). For him, singing that note is not even an issue — his record is and F-sharp that’s actually lower than that low E.

How low? “When Menees sang “A Little Talk With Jesus” at a church in Canada, he hit a note so low that it shattered an Electro-Voice speaker.”

Doesn’t matter if I have a cold or not. Compared to him, I sound like Mike Tyson.


1 thought on “How Low Can You Go?

  1. Haven’t heard Barry in quite some time. Ironically, he wasn’t the best-looking guy in the world, but his lyrics and voice more than compensated!

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