Bass, how low is it?

Nowadays, whether it’s pop or classical music, there is a general aesthetic trend in vocal music: to listen to singers hitting high notes. In addition to listening to contestants in various singing variety shows, the tenor’s high C is always a selling point on the opera stage.

But if you will only “listen up”, blindly seek high, then you miss the vocal music art of another “treasure boy” – bass. Today we are going to teach you how to “listen down” and feel the charm of “Low C”.

Bass, where’s the law?

The bass can be said to challenge the lowest vocal range. The majority of ordinary men normally speak in the range of baritone, which means that the tenor and bass are in a physiologically unnatural vocal state, which needs special training to achieve.

In addition to acquired training, bass congenital conditions are also very important. Some of the so-called “bass”, in fact, just a low baritone, real bass very few. What does that mean? That is, the same register, the tone and volume of the bass will be different from that of other people in the middle and lower parts.

For example, if you play a double bass with a cello in some range, you can play it in some places, but the tone that comes out is still different from the double bass, it lacks thickness. Cello, double bass can be artificially created, but the human voice is born, is there, no is not.

Russia, Germany out a lot of bass, this and their eating habits, geographical environment, body and voice conditions are related. Relatively speaking, north and colder places have more people in the whisper area.

8c19c4a6ac42ca3acb73ca53ad5e6e09What are the classic passages for the bass?

​Composers in the past, in the bass aria, often happen to have a good bass could use, so the tailor an aria for him, and this uniqueness for posterity singer deductive works added a lot of difficulty, has even been to joke, not singing on the ground is too low.

The Russian bass Fedor Ivanovich Shariabin (1873-1938), known as the “king of bass in the world”, became famous for his performance of Boris Godunov by Mussorsky. This opera is also a classic of bass, and there are three important bass roles in the opera. Sometimes even a bass will be required to play three roles at the same time, which is very difficult. Gorky praised Shariabin for the operatic stage “as Tolstoy did for the art of language”.

Fedor Ivanovich Shariabin

Mozart’s The Magic Flute also pushed the limits of sound, with the “Queen of the Night” sung by a coloratura soprano. In contrast, Mozart used a bass to play the high priest Sarasto, creating a soft, paternal figure. Verdi’s politically charged opera Don Carlo also uses a lot of baritones and basses.

The original Chinese opera Yue Fei is also unique among contemporary operas. It uses the bass to represent great historical figures, and it is also one of the few operas to be named after the roles played by the bass.

Nowadays, many original operas not only require the bass to have a mellow bass, but also require the bass to have a rich trouble. The bass “out of the hall, into the kitchen” is worthy of gaining more favor.

Basses are late bloomers

Star wide this week will have a very good bass singer, is also China national grand theatre in the singer, “price” of the year, close to Beijing, he will hand in hand with the domestic excellent art direction Shen Ye, focused on the Chinese vocal music works, to give the audience a set of “sound beauty, language beauty, beauty” in the integration of vocal music and piano concert.

“We often see young tenors in big competitions with golden timbre, brilliant notes and impeccable technique,” said Kwan. And few young basses make it into the limelight. In fact, the singing method of each part is the same, each part has technical difficulties, each part of the aria will have a dazzling cadenza sentence, the difference is that everyone’s vocal fold structure is different. Bass is a late bloomer of potential, this part needs to accumulate, precipitation more content.”

In opera, the bass usually plays the roles of fathers, killers and villains, and portrays the roles with a sense of age and power. In Guan’s view, these characters have their own values. The purpose of a killer is to kill; ​the role of a father is to protect children, family, life and so on.

Singers Liu Shan (left) and Guan Zhijing (right)

“To move the audience, you must first determine the core interests of the character and understand the arrangement and composer. If you understand the core quality of the bass role in an opera, then you can make full use of this quality to infect the audience. Every opera is a challenge for me. There is no opera that I can say is easy to do.”

Leave a Comment