The low bass notes of any given choir are what anchors it. They keep it grounded, while all the other parts are floating around somewhere in the air. Learning how to sing those low bass notes isn’t difficult, and the effort you put into it will be much appreciated by the choral group you sing with!
Having sung with many choirs, I know that deep bass notes oftentimes form the foundation of any given song. They give it a firm footing for whatever the higher parts may bring, and while the sopranos are holding their own with a high note, it’s the low bass notes that are keeping the piece moving on towards the end.
Singing the low bass part comes naturally for some — some have to work towards it. As you read through this article, realize that these are tips only. Not every voice is able to stretch and expand and hit the very deep notes. If your voice starts to feel strained at all, or your throat begins to feel sore or stretched, stop and let your vocal cords rest. While trying to stretch your octave range, you don’t want to damage the voice you already have!
Before You Sing
I know – every choir director or voice teacher I going to tell you the same thing I am about to, and you’ve heard it a thousand and one times already. But bear with me here, and I’ll be done soon.
It is much easier to sing the right notes if you start out with the right position. If you are sitting, sit up straight, with your back, neck, and head in perfect alignment. Sit on the edge of your seat, with both feet firmly planted on the floor. If you are standing, stand up straight and tall.
Shoulders back, feet slightly apart, and back, neck, and head straight. Don’t lock your knees, and make sure your hip joints are relaxed.
Singing in the lower registers of the music scale requires you to relax. Your vocal cords must be relaxed, your larynx must be relaxed, your throat must be relaxed, your lungs, back, and chest must be relaxed — basically, everything must be relaxed.
If you aren’t relaxed then the notes you are attempting to sing may very well become caught in your throat, hampering the effort you are putting into singing. The best way to relax is to stretch before you sing. Stretch out your shoulders, limber up your neck, and take a few deep breaths, expanding your lungs as full as they can get. Make sure to warm up your voice for several minutes before starting any serious work.
The following video will lead you in several exercises that will help you voice to warm up properly.
Now . . . Sing!
Start with singing a scale. How low can you go? What’s the highest note you can hit? Pay attention, so you know your vocal range. Singing the low bass notes requires you to use your “chest” voice — but this doesn’t necessarily mean that the sound is coming out of our chest!
When you sing low notes, as with every note you sing, the sound should come out of your mouth. Not your throat, or your nose, but your mouth. Keep your soft pallet, on the roof of your mouth, in a rounded “O” shape to get the best sound.
Don’t let the sound fall backward in your throat when you come to a low note that is difficult to hit. This chokes the sound and keeps it from resonating and becoming all that it could become. If you have trouble with this, place your hands on cheeks and try to keep the sound coming from above your hands — this helps you visualize, which in turn helps you to sing properly.
Use your breathing to support each individual note. Singing is a workout for your whole body — lungs and diaphragm included! Take deep, controlled breaths as you sing, and control the air flow with your diaphragm as you expel it outwards. Make sure your rib cage is expanded and lifted as well, to get the full, beautiful resonance of the low register.
To start singing deeper, start with the word “me”, in the middle of your voice range, on a note that you can sing with clarity and perfect pitch. Sing it evenly, with no vibrato. You should feel the vibrations of each note around your sinus cavities and your lips, and you should also feel it a bit in your chest for a low note.
To figure out where the sound you are producing is coming from, pinch you nose as you sing, and notice any vibrations you may feel. Then sing the same thing over again with your hand on your chest. Where did you feel the most vibrations? You must feel them in your chest to produce that low sound you are looking for.
Work at this until you can produce a good resonance, then move one step deeper. Master that, and go deeper still. Work in small increments, making sure you perfect each note before you move on.
Nothing exists to magically expand your vocal cords. Lowering your vocal range will take weeks and months, if not years — take your time, and work hard at it, and you will master singing the low bass notes. Set aside time to practice daily, as constant practice is a necessity in expanding your voice range.
As you continue to expand your vocal range downward, don’t forget about stretching them upwards as well. This will help you to create a well-rounded singing voice, that will be beneficial to you in the future. Work on the tonal quality and overall sound of each pitch you hit, and don’t feel discouraged if it takes you several weeks to master an individual note.
Remember to sing well, you must take good care of your voice. Staying well hydrated is a must, as it keeps the vocal cords lubricated. Don’t sing for too long — if your voice begins to feel or sound strained, call it quits for the day and allow it to rest, before starting up again the next day.
Remember to practice every day, and eventually, you will be able to effortlessly sing the lowest bass notes.