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February 3, 2012

How Low Can You Go?

The hunt is on to find a singer with a seriously low range to record a new composition. Decca has launched an international talent quest in the hopes of discovering the lowest-voiced singer in the world.

The classical label was set to record a new album of works by Welsh choral composer Paul Mealor, whose radiantly beautiful motet Ubi caritas was commissioned by Prince William and Kate Middleton and premiered at the royal wedding last year.

But there's a minor hitch: he's written a choral work, De Profundis, that features the lowest note ever notated for the human voice. The offending E resides almost three octaves below Middle C in the nether regions of a standard piano keyboard, and sounds at 329 Hertz to be exact.

Basses wanting to give their vocal cords a workout in the competition may be daunted by the fact that the E is six notes below the lowest ever written for a choral piece (a pesky B-flat from Rachmanivov’s Vespers) and a whole tone lower than the Guinness World Record-holding F-sharp.

It is thought that this pitch has never been voiced in the history of Western music – Decca may have to import a Mongolian throat-singer if the recording is to go ahead without revisions to the piece. More info.

Posted by acapnews at February 3, 2012 12:00 AM