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

According to The Guinness Book of World Records, Roger Menees has made the lowest note ever recorded.  In February, at a recording studio in Carbondale, he hit an F-sharp at .393 hertz.

"It's really not a functional note when you go down that low," he told NPR's Robert Siegel. "This is the slowest vibration that you can make with your vocal chord -- the slowest vocal pulses with the greatest interval between them."

The human ear can't hear the note.  Instead, it detects "the colliding of the vocal chords in making the pulse."

To hit that note, Menees practiced for three months.

You can hear a sample of his voice here:

In 1997, when he was living in Louisville, Kentucky, singing gospel music professionally, a friend encouraged him to go for the world record.

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.

These days, Menees calls Anna, Illinois, home.  He's savoring his new world record, readying for his next challenge.

"There's always somebody better than you," he said. "Somewhere in the world, there's probably somebody better."

And if they come out of the woodwork, I'll congratulate them. I'm just doing the best I can.

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David Gura
Based in New York, David Gura is a correspondent on NPR's business desk. His stories are broadcast on NPR's newsmagazines, All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, and he regularly guest hosts 1A, a co-production of NPR and WAMU.

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