Chiu Wan-ting. “'The Road to Formosan Primo Bass Singer': Stages of Hong Yi-feng’s Singing Style.” Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore 178 (2012.12): 75-162.
From the 1950’s to the 1970’s, Hong Yi-feng and Wen Hsia were the two representative male singers of Taiwanese pop songs and were hailed as the “Primo Bass Singer” and the “Primo Tenor Singer” respectively. However, my analysis of Hong’s historical recordings shows that his bass timbre had undergone a process of evolution and that his singing styles went through four stages of development. In the first stage (1957-1964), Hong’s singing covered high, middle and low registers without stressing the bass in particular, and some of his repertoires overlapped with those of Wen Hsia; this implies that Hong was still swaying between the audiences’ preferences for tenor timbre and his characteristic bass timbre during this period. Hong changed his timbre at the second stage (1964-1969) and began selecting songs which could feature his bass singing. In the third stage (1969-1973), Hong’s timbre showed a greater unity and emphasized his bass timbre. As for the fourth stage (1973-1978), he developed a new singing style which not only combined the former singing styles but also added some new features. Correspondingly I found that the titles with which the media referred to Hong also went through stages, first as “Bass Singer,” then as “Primo Bass Singer,” and finally as “Formosan Primo Bass Singer,” a change that more or less reflects the gradual shifting of the audience’s taste from preferring tenor quality to accepting Hong’s bass timbre.