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Gospel Singer Makes 'Guinness Book Of World Records' With Lowest Note
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Gospel Singer Makes 'Guinness Book Of World Records' With Lowest Note

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Gospel Singer Makes 'Guinness Book Of World Records' With Lowest Note
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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.


And I'm Robert Siegel, and the question we consider now is: How low can you go? And by low, I mean deep, singing really low notes, like the great Paul Robeson.

(Soundbite of song, "Swing Low Sweet Chariot")

Mr. PAUL ROBESON (Singer): (Singing) Swing Low, sweet chariot.

SIEGEL: Wow, is that low. Or a practiced Tuvan throat singer.

Unidentified Man #1: (Singing) (Unintelligible).

SIEGEL: That's even lower. But neither of those low note-makers could reach the note that Roger Menees voiced to make it into the Guinness World Records book, and Mr. Menees joins us now from his home in Anna, Illinois. Roger Menees, welcome to the program.

Mr. ROGER MENEES (Singer): Glad to be here with y'all.

SIEGEL: And tell us, how low was the note that you reached?

Mr. MENEES: It was .393 hertz.

SIEGEL: Now give us some guidance. If I was sitting, say, at a piano, right in front of Middle C, and I reached all the way down to the end of the keyboard, would I have to go into the next room to find that key if it were on the piano?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. MENEES: Yeah, this is the slowest vibrations that you can make with your vocal chords, or as they are called, this would be the slowest vocal pulses with the greatest interval between them.

SIEGEL: Now as we can hear, you have a very deep speaking voice, but are you and we can't actually play the world-record-setting recording, that's a proprietary matter. The Guinness people have that, I gather. But you're going to demonstrate for us a really, really low note right now?

Mr. MENEES: Yeah, I'll do that, okay.

(Soundbite of song, "Swing Low Sweet Chariot")

Mr. MENEES: (Singing) Swing low, sweet chariot.

SIEGEL: All you all right?

Mr. MENEES: Yeah, I'm fine.

SIEGEL: Oh, you are, okay.

Mr. MENEES: I didn't make it melodic, though. Here's another thing I can do.


Mr. MENEES: (Singing) Way down, way down.

How'd that come through?

SIEGEL: Well, you've broken a world record. This has been certified by the Guinness folks. I'm just curious, how did you come by the ambition to sing the lowest note of anyone in the world?

Mr. MENEES: I had a friend when I was singing with a group in 1997 that was urging me to try for the record, and it planted the idea back then. And I'm 59 years old now. I thought, you know, well, a year ago, I was 58 when I first made my first attempt. And I thought if I'm going to do this, I better get it done, you know.

SIEGEL: You figure it's now or never to make a run for it.

Mr. MENEES: Yeah.

SIEGEL: I was wondering, apart from competitive low-note singing, what song you sing that actually uses the lowest notes of anything that you'd ever have occasion to actually sing?

Mr. MENEES: It was up in Vancouver, British Columbia, at a church, and I hit the last note on the piano, and a speaker blew when I hit that note.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. MENEES: It was a...

SIEGEL: Do you remember what song that was you that...

Mr. MENEES: "A Little Talk With Jesus," and it was, let's see...

Mr. MENEES: (Singing) You will...

SIEGEL: Well, we've checked all the speakers. So far, no damage done on this end.

Mr. MENEES: Yeah.

SIEGEL: So Mr. Menees, thank you very much for both demonstrating those low notes and for talking with us about your world's record.

Mr. MENEES: Thank you.

SIEGEL: That's Roger Menees of Ana, Illinois, who has made it into the Guinness World Records book for singing the lowest note on record.

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