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Welcome to the Tenor discussion pageEdit

Constructive suggestions and discussion welcome! The contents of this page are for ongoing discussions. For past discussions please see the archives.

Highest note in Full voice?Edit

What is actually the highest written note in Opera and classical music for the normal tenor? Is it the High F?

Top C and aboveEdit

As a tenor with a decent top C please see my addition to this page. The tenor of the page (forgive the pun) is that notes above top C are quite usual and achievable. Nothing is further from the truth. In any event such high notes are rare (if non-existent) in vocal scores and must be regarded as "show pieces" a freak almost. Somehow the article suggests that it is quite normal to sign F and G above top C!!!! My addition goes some way to correcting this - I hope it will not be removed entirely. But as a singer I shall not have it sugegsted that a tenor must have a D,E or F or even higher. Sorry. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:28, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

Tenor roles in operettas and musicals sectionEdit

I propose deleting this section. It isn't a complete list (a complete list would be extraordinarily difficult to compile, and of dubious value), nor a meaningfully selective list. Rather, it's an avenue for people to add their favorite tenor roles as they stumble across the article, much like "pop culture references" sections. Fireplace 00:44, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

One could say the same of all the lists. Maybe they should be limited to major roles, with separate articles of little value for exhaustive lists. There doesn't seem much point in deleting this list without deleting all the others, which would be a net loss of information however slight. Highnote 01:43, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
The lists under voice type serve a more specific purpose by using famous roles to give an example of the flavor of the narrower voice types in ways that a description alone cannot do. By contrast, the bulky list at the end doesn't seem to impart any encyclopedic information about tenors. Fireplace 01:50, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
If a resourceful Wikipedian could come up with some fair-use audio samples of the different tenor voice types, that would be a big contribution. A look at the articles on the other voice ranges shows they each include a list of roles for musicals/operettas. The baritone article consigns the whole list of roles to a separate article. I propose doing the same for this article, including the list of musical/operetta roles. Ideally the main article would list the tenor voice types with representative audio samples of each one. Highnote 02:24, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree about audio samples. I've seen the other articles, and depending on how this discussion goes will propose the same thing on them. Regard separate articles... I argued above that the list is unencyclopedic... forking it off doesn't change that. Fireplace 02:28, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
One of the goals of an encyclopedia is to be comprehensive, or so I read, and a list of roles is a part of comprehensive knowledge about a voice range. It informs us about what singers with that voice range do, though admittedly in eye-glazing fashion. If the list of musical/operetta roles doesn't impart any knowledge about the subtypes of tenor voices because those genres make no such distinctions, that's secondary. The roles that Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote are just as valid as Verdi's. Highnote 23:09, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
Oh, my objections aren't based on a musical tenor vs. opera tenor distinction. Regarding comprehensiveness, there are likely 100,000+ tenor roles. As I've stressed, this current list is neither complete nor meaningfully selective. Fireplace 23:47, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
A comprehensive list is not the same as an exhaustive one. I agree that an exhaustive list is neither feasible nor desirable, but no list at all implies that tenors have no musical/operetta roles. Although some may disagree, tenors are not castratos. Put all the lists in a separate article and have done with it. Highnote 13:51, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
As Wikipedia is indeed a encyclopedia for knowledge this list should be reinstated. It is indeed not complete however it does provide performers with an Idea of what vocal capabilities are required to sing a certain musical tenor role. This is essential for musicians especially tenors to be able to identify where they are in vocal capability for roles. The list should be re-instated. I for one had often used the list however I am now no longer able to use this and in my view the article has become a catastrophe with no insight to the Vocalisation of Tenors —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:51, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
This list most deinately should be reinstated, with the understanding that the list isn't comprehensive. For a fledgling tenor who was just given his first aria should be able to research the role that the aria comes from, as well as operas with arias containing the same criteria (Timbre, range, orchestration etc.) I feel like if this list were compiled with particular vocal fach in mind, it could be more beneficial. However, in respect to the argument that there can't possibly be a list of all operatic roles for tenors, there is a list of commonly done repetoire that every young tenor, or interested knowledge-seeker should be able to see. The importance of a tenor knowing of Alfredo in La Traviata, or Nemorino in L'Elisir d'Amore, is infinately more useful than a tenor being able to recognize Se Di Lauri from Mozart's Mitridate, or other virtually unheard of operas. I propose that this list of operatic roles be roles from productions that have been performed in the top list venues in the last 10 years. Invariably, one will see repetitions and overlapping (as in the back of the Classical Singer magazine, and Opera News, under the production lists) Wikipedia should be a very easily accessible resource that is not professing to be the be all and end all. If a tenor wants to delve into the subject of tenor roles that are never performed, that is his prerogative, but for those students that are looking ahead to possible roles for their career, they should be able to get an overview on wikipedia. *visit for opinion on vocal music, audition experiences, and answers to preprofessional questions, from preprofessional colleagues. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:23, 16 November 2009 (UTC)
I believe that the highest note is F. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:27, 6 March 2019 (UTC)

tenor for other instruments besides the voice!Edit

what about tenor saxophones and tenor recorders? This article is a bit biased on voice and should have more information on what the term "tenor" tends to mean when used about instruments.--Sonjaaa 06:11, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

Female TenorsEdit

I've just been informed by an acquaintance that she sings tenor. That prompted me to investigate here but there's no mention of female tenors. She did say that it's rare. Google gives 1500+ references to "female tenor" as opposed to over 20,000 for "male soprano". If anyone knows more about this then it would be a useful inclusion (even if it's to say that it's a mistake to assign a female voice to a tenor range). (I've made the same request in Voice_type) 13:06, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

There's is such a thing, in a loose sense. That is, there are women who can sing low enough to cover tenor parts. They're not common, though, and historically haven't had any music written especially for them (unlike, say, countertenors/castrati/whatever). In my experience the topic really only comes up in choirs where they are of course used either in the tenor or the alto section, depending on their individual tessitura, the needs of the choir, and so on. That said, "female tenor" is definitely not a standard voice classification, more a useful shorthand for "woman whose voice's tessitura, surprisingly, lies in the tenor range." Personally, I don't think it merits its own mention on the page. --George 23:34, 15 July 2007 (UTC)
Hi I came upon this side because of Johnny Cashs song "Daddy sang bass (mama sang tenor)". Therefore I was also wandering why Cash is asociatiang a female with a male type of voice. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:12, 19 November 2007 (UTC)

I have met a few women who have sung tenor but they generally are altos that sing tenor to compensate for a lack of male tenors. I think its worth noting in this article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:19, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

It's not that unusual for women to sing tenor, baritone or bass - just not encouraged. Historically it was not unheard of either and all-female choirs could include all ranges. It makes no sense for men to be able to sing alto and soprano, but for women to be unable to sing tenor or bass. The women in this choir - - are not altos singing tenor, they are tenors and basses —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:46, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

I'm a tenor and a girl.. Darn, I was hoping my dear wikipedia would answer some questions for me. I'm a bit higher than a tenor but too low to sing an alto part well as they often go up into really high notes.. I'm best between D3 and E5. I have to go into my head voice at the F#4, like a MAN. Knowing that I am one, I'm going to say, YES, women can be tenors and it should be mentioned. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:28, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

I am a woman and I sing tenor in our choir at church (there are actually THREE female tenors in our choir).
When I first joined the choir, I actually pressed the director on this issue -- "Am I an actual tenor ... or just a mislabeled contralto?" He tested my range by having me do scales (in order to find my voice break) ... and I am actually a true tenor.
When it comes to singing solos, it's been a challenge for me to wrap my head around the fact that I am a woman singing a "guy's" part. I've had to think in terms of what's best for my voice as opposed to what's appropriate for my gender. LizFL (talk) 16:25, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

Keep in mind that range is not the only qualifier for a voice classification. If you listen to single gender groups like Chanticleer, (men) singing in what would traditionally be called SATB, they do not sound at all like a more typical mixed gender SATB choir where women are singing the SA parts. The timbre of men singing the alto and soprano parts is quite different from women singing the same notes; still lovely, but a different sound. Similar to the distinction between boy sopranos and adult women sopranos; again same notes, but different sounds. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:17, 16 February 2016 (UTC)

There have been proposals (e.g. this one) to consider these to be distinct female Fächer, by drawing an analogy to the basso profondo and oktavist. Double sharp (talk) 08:01, 12 September 2017 (UTC)


The section on choral music is perhaps confusing to lay-people. First, it is said that in (four-part) choral music the tenor is just above bass. Later, the undefined term baritone is used.Kdammers 02:31, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

In terms of choral tenors in Medieval times the article is not quite correct. The designation 'countertenor' was already in use in the 14th century. Guillaume de Machaut used a voice below the tenor voice in his Messe de Nostre Dame, expanding the three voices usually used in masses by an additional one. Up to this point in time the tenor was the lowest (not the highest as suggested in the article) voice. With addition of a countertenor medieval music now had two lower registers that were considered the foundation (or harmonic substance) of the song. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Crittercutter (talkcontribs) 02:37, 27 November 2017 (UTC)

In four-part mixed chorus (SATB) there is Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass. Baritone is only above bass if there is a divisi in the Bass part of a chorus as in men's pieces (TTBB) or full-divisi pieces when each voice part is split into at least two parts (SSAATTBB) then the Baritone will sing the top Bass part. — Preceding unsigned comment added by YusefJCB (talkcontribs) 21:59, 29 July 2018 (UTC)

tenor solo repertoire with orchestraEdit

The tenor voice has a select solo reperatoire. I hope people can expand this section!

—Preceding unsigned comment added by Lawrence18uk (talkcontribs) 13:43, 14 January 2008 (UTC) 

yes, there should be a section on non-operatic solos for tenor including works like the Passions (J.S Bach). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:39, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Including a list of musical rolesEdit

I invite everyone to join this discussion on the voice type talk page. Past consensus has been to not include a list of such roles but perhaps this topic should be re-addressed. This topic involves all voice types as there has been a strong attempt to try and make each voice type page similar in content and format.Nrswanson (talk) 22:38, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

Merger of Tenore di grazia into TenorEdit

The topic of Tenore di grazia seems to be sufficiently covered in the tenor article and is therefor redundant.Nrswanson (talk) 23:31, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

  • I second the merge proposal. —Latiligence (talk) 16:40, 21 May 2008 (UTC)
  • I second the merge proposal, as well. Contents do not seem quite acceptable and, anyway, completely lack any kind of reference.Jeanambr (talk) 16:02, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
Tenore di grazia is a perfectly useful and long-established category, quite suitable for its own article. Absence of references has nothing to do with the merger question. Let's find the references. I oppose merger. Eebahgum (talk) 20:02, 4 November 2009 (UTC)
I agree with the aforementioned comment. The history associated with Tenore di grazia is more specific than the normal, run of the mill light lyric tenor voice. This is an encyclopedia, the more specific and definitive that we can be on each individual subject, the better. I oppose the merger. * visit for opinions on vocal music, audition experiences and other preprofessional questions from preprofessional colleagues —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:28, 16 November 2009 (UTC)
  • The Tenore di grazia article is good on its own as Eebahgum said. I have seen several articles that would contain a section that had right below it, "Main article- (name of article here)" If you don't know what im talking about the Carmina Burana (Orff) article has one under the "text" and "In pop culture" sections. Perhaps if there was one of those under the Lirical-Legario tenor section in the tenor article rather then merging. —Cola765 (talk) 00:44, 6 January 2011 (UTC)


As a musically-inebriated human being, I find it difficult to understand what a 'tenor' is, or what his or her range is. What is it in comparison with a baritone or falsetto? Can someone put a scale together that compares the common vocal registers? The image could then be customized to have the tenor scale highlighted on the tenor article, falsetto scaled highlighted on the falsetto article, etc. (talk) 02:32, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Hi there. I'm am afraid you are confusing the terms voice type and vocal register. The terms tenor and baritone refer to two specific voice type for men and are not vocal registers. Falsetto, however, is a vocal register and not a voice type. Vocal registers refer to a specific kind of vocal production defined by the way the larynx is used. All voice types (i.e. tenor, baritone, bass, soprano, contralto, etc.) have the same four vocal registers (vocal fry, modal, falsetto, whistle). There is no set vocal range for the different vocal registers as each voice has there own unique register placements and register breaks. There are however, tendencies within voice types on where the different vocal registers tend to begin and end. All voices are unique though and so there is no definitive chart one can make. Falsetto, as a vocal register, can be used by all the voice types. However, the place at which falsetto begins and ends is unique to every voice with some voices having a much greater natural range than others. Unlike modal voice where there is more a consistantly identifiable set of vocal range, there tends to be much more variety in the range of falsetto vocal production from individual to individual. Therefore, charting a "falsetto range" is really not possible or practical. There are already charts comparing the vocal ranges of the different voice types at the vocal range article. However, vocal range is not like math and voices often hold wider or smaller ranges than those listed. Those given are merely what's average and are not meant to be seen as a hard and fast rule. Also vocal range is only one factor and not even the most important one in determining a singers voice type. Voice type is really more about vocal tessitura (where the voice feels most comfortable singing) and vocal timbre (the characteristic sound of the voice) rather than merely vocal range. I suggest reading the voice type article.Nrswanson (talk) 06:44, 8 October 2008 (UTC)

Highest Male VoiceEdit

Just for the sake of fairness and accuracy, should this article read "highest male voice within the modal register"? There are countertenors who are capable of singing in the "female" vocal ranges while in the modal register. I'm not saying its ridiculously common, but I also don't think it's so rare that the opening of the article should read that way, because it almost implies that all countertenors employ falsetto or some other non-modal register to sing in ranges above that typically designated as "tenor." I just think it would be more accurate to say "The tenor is a type of male singing voice and is, usually, the highest male voice within the modal register." Anyone agree, disagree? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:09, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

The entire process of training a countertenor *after the abolishment of castrati* involves the strengthening of the falsetto of a baritone. The product is such that the man sounds much like a mezzo soprano, or even higher. The term itself, an italian diminuative for "not real," implies that the means of production are not what is typically natural for a singer. Not to say that countertenors are UNNATURAL, but if the desired effect is to sound like a female, and no natural means of vocal production are employed, why should it be thrown into the highest male category? I think that there should be mention of it, and a link to a separate article, but as far as the highest true male voice is concerned, i think that the leggiero tenor has that title. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:39, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

There are also what are referred to as "natural castrati." While somewhat uncommon, there are men who due to hormonal imbalances continue to have a modal voice in soprano or mezzo range. 2 says you, says two 16:05, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
Your voice has nothing to do with hormones. It's all about the size of your larynx and the thickness of your vocal cords (smaller, thinner vocal cords produce higher pitches while larger, thicker ones produce lower ones).
Ultimately, it's a matter of genetics. LizFL (talk) 16:39, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Countertenors do not usually "sound like a female" in much other than their vocal ranges. Double sharp (talk) 06:02, 8 February 2018 (UTC)

Andrea BocelliEdit

What type of tenor is Bocelli, I'm not sure he is a lyric tenor. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:00, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

Andrea Bocelli is a light lyric tenor. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:20, 23 April 2009 (UTC) \\

I ADDED HIM IN THE Lirico-Leggiero section, cause that is excaly his type of voice.--Ahmad123987 (talk) 22:45, 28 January 2010 (UTC)

Freddie Mercury a leggiero tenor??Edit

I notice that Freddie Mercury has been including in the list of leggiero tenors. Freddie certainly had a very versatile voice but I would question this classification. Assigning a classical voice classification to a rock singer is somewhat controversial in itself, but if we were to define Freddie Mercury's voice using classical terminology I'd have thought heldentenor might be more accurate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Contains Mild Peril (talkcontribs) 13:10, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

I disagree completely. The heldentenor voice is a voice that has enough depth and volume and carrying power to sail across 20 horns playing the same pitch at octaves with the voice. Freddie Mercury, (as much as i love him, and what he did for modern music) cannot, in my opinion be classified as a tenor at all. If one were to listen to Freddie Mercury's speaking voice, one would find it to be much lower than one might expect. The reason being, that FM had developed his falsetto to an extreme. He was not singing in the modal register when he was singing, for the most part. If you listen closely, you can hear the pitch level at which he had to switch to falsetto. however, his transitions weren't nearly smooth and seamless enough and his resonance, and vocal production, while very impressive, was not trained enough to deserve a classical classification. If, however, one was going to attribute a fach for FM, i would have to say a very high baritone, with an incredible extension, and a very impressive falsetto. *visit for other discussions —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:47, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

Freddie's a tenor. See this. [1]--Greg D. Barnes (talk) 17:26, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
I have to agree with IP editor - rangewise he might fit as a tenor, but his timbre and vocal color are rich enough that he's more likely a baritone with a a huge upper extension and versatile falsetto. Its really no different than adding a low C extension to a double bass - in that its still a double bass, it doesn't turn into an octobass - which is a completely different instrument with a deeper color. 2 says you, says two 16:00, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
His timbre is too light to be a baritone. Plus he did most of his singing in the tenor range and used FULL VOICE for the most part when he was singing (not falsetto).--Greg D. Barnes (talk) 22:25, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Why is "assigning a classical voice classification to a rock singer... somewhat controversial"? What a bunch of snobs. The implication of that statement is no other type of voice is valid except opera- that dinosaur- and classical; popular singers, present and past are meaningless and don't even deserve a voice classication? Opera singers are "just" singers- without the page, they're mute. Recent singer-composers from Brian Wilson, The Beatles, to Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Elton John then Ian Anderson, Jon Anderson, Michael McDonald (now that's a tenor), Freddie Mercury up to Dave Matthews and many others, are the true creators; they write what's on the page, perform it and do it brilliantly. So what's the snob take on Peter Townshend. Not only did he sing, and play an excellent guitar, he wrote the opera that he, and The Who performed??Dcrasno (talk) 17:39, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

comment: It is controversial to assign a classical classification to a rock singer but currently that's the only kind of classification you could assign to a singer, just using basic tenor or baritone classification is still technically classical classification so as controversial as it is, It is still accurate representation of vocal anatomy.(something a person was born with)

FM is a damaged leggiero tenor(there is a few versions of leggiero voice class), or he never developed the proper connection to leggiero extension, something that can take years to develop. Many leggiero tenors could confirm that he is a leggiero just by the way he sang. Listen to the music he sang, he sings most of the songs in modern tenor range... if that's not a sign I don't know what is...Adam lambert currently sings queen songs in the original FM key! Freddie mercury never had the full voice connection like Adam Lambert but It isn't too hard to find similarities by comparing Freddie/Adam, It's best to compare with Freddie's older music, before he had vocal damage. - - - — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:49, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

Octave confusionEdit

Maybe I'm wrong here but I think the writer of this article is confused over Middle C and octave numbers.

According to the Wikipedia article on Scientific pitch notation, Middle C (C4) is the line between the Treble and Bass clefs. However this article on Tenors claims the lowest note for Anthony in Sweeney Todd is an Ab2, that's a flattened note on the bottom space of the bass clef. This is certainly not the lowest note he sings and seems unusually low for any tenor to sing! He does however sing F5 (The second word sang in the song Johanna, "I feel you, Johanna...") which is higher than the the D5 note from Songs for a New World which the article claims to be beyond the expected range of a tenor.

I apologise if I'm the one in the wrong!

Rpxadair (talkcontribs) 01:13, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

unfortunately, you are wrong:) you are right with middle c being (C4) which makes the tenor high C (C5). the ocaves change at C, so D4 is the space below the last line of the treble staff, and the space above one line above the bass clef. In Johanna, the "feel" is in fact an F4. the F5 that you are thinking of is the high F that Arturo sings in I Puritani, by Bellini. Most tenor Repetoire has G4, A4 and occasionally B and Bb4, but only with the big stuff are there C5 and higher. I am fairly familiar with Songs for a new world, and i dont recall there being a high D5 in the show, (typical musical theatre singers usually do not have the classical vocal development and knowledge required to sing stratospheric tessatura. That is not to say that there are not opera singers that scream high notes, but most musical theatre composers do not write that tessatura for the tenors. In short, i believe that you were right on most points, but the F5 in johanna is not there, and you meant a F4. *please visit —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:55, 16 November 2009 (UTC)

I am confused with vocal ranges too. The problem is that I've recently bumped into "Fra gli amplessi" score from Così fan tutte (you may find the score in references section of that article). It shows pitches up to A5 for "Ferrando", and according to this article it looks pretty much impossible for a tenor. --Dlougach (talk) 22:09, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

I believe some of this confusion may arise from the fact that the tenor singing line is by tradition written an octave higher than it is sung - this is for convenience. Thus when the High C is written 2 lines above the treble clef stave, it appears to signify C6, which is a Soprano high C - it is sung by a tenor an octave lower than it is written. I understand recent practice is to add a figure 8 beneath the treble clef to indicate this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:25, 13 February 2017 (UTC)

This is not just for convenience; if so writing the tenor voice in the tenor clef (as was actually done in Mozart's time, for example) would be equally convenient, as it gets rid of ledger lines just as well. But writing the tenor clef an octave above its real pitch in the G clef has acoustic significance, as a solo tenor sounds like he is higher than a piano accompaniment even if he is objectively at a lower pitch; this is why it usually does no great violence for male and female singers to sing the same art songs, because the voice is only heard with difficulty as providing a bass for the harmony. Double sharp (talk) 05:39, 8 February 2018 (UTC)

Michael JacksonEdit

Michael's Vocal Coach said he was a high tenor. By the 1990s he could go from B1-B5 in full voice - he could reach up to C6 in falsetto. So why say tenors low extreme is Ab2? AttilaBrady (talk) 21:30, 24 August 2010 (UTC)

Michael Jackson does not represent all tenors at all. Plus, he wasn't classically trained. Generally tenors do not have that range. Contemporary training is very different. — Preceding unsigned comment added by YusefJCB (talkcontribs) 21:46, 29 July 2018 (UTC)

Mingo a spinto?Edit

I've just had a good laugh. How could anyone call that tiny drowned out voice a spinto? I don't agree that he's a dramatic like some seem to think but he's certainly closer to a dramatic than a spinto. A spinto is a Caruso, a Tucker, or a Corelli. A Mario Lanza? This article is an absolute joke. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:33, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Leggiero / leggeroEdit

Can someone explain the spelling of leggero as leggiero? I'm pretty sure that contemporary Italian usage is not leggiero; see it:Ortografia italiana#I fonologica, diacritica e "ortografica" (bottom of table under "Grafie antiquate"), it:wikt:leggero (there is no it:wikt:leggiero) and this discussion. Is the spelling leggiero some Anglicism or an eccentric part of the musicologists' vocabulary? -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 10:45, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

PS: some findings at Talk:Ruggero Leoncavallo#Ruggero or Ruggiero? might be of interest. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 10:49, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

I added Gianni Raimondi to the list of Lirico tenor. He was one of the most important voices after the world war und deserves ABSOLUTELY a place among the greatest. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:51, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

Note: In Italian "leggiero" is simply an obsolete form of "leggero". I suspect the reason the obsolete form appears most often in writings about the tenor voice (or music) in English is that they are ultimately based on 19th century (or earlier) earlier writings and scores. The Oxford Dictionary of Music uses "leggero" and states that the spellings "leggiero" and "leggieramente" are "still found in the scores of ill-informed composers and publishers." Rodolfo Celletti, who wrote Voce di tenore (no relation), uses "tenore leggero", as does The Grove Book of Opera Singers. Voceditenore (talk) 10:11, 1 October 2017 (UTC)

Now I'm ConfusedEdit

I'm a female that regards myself as basically tenor (but reading the Wikipedia page, I'm resigned to, but not obstinant to, calling myself "countertenor" even though I can hit notes lower than that. Also, because I can comfortably hit around E6 whistle [up to G6 straining, and I have hit C7 before] which are soprano and alto. Then I read where voice classification is also based on timbre and et cetera, so now I really don't know what I am). All that mess of info aside, this is the meat of the confusion: On a forum somewhere, I saw it stated that Chester Bennington's vocal range starts at roughly A2. The problem therein lies that he's considered tenor (although the forum got its info from a Youtube vid, and the creator of the vid considers Chester baritone), and I can hit most of the same notes he can. My basic question is this: Who's in the wrong here? Am I baritone, or is Chester tenor (since we have similar voices at a similar range, pitch, and timbre [actually, my timbre's a little lower than his])? Or was the creator of the video confused about the second and third octaves (this seems to create a lot of confusion) and confused the forum participators? Does ANYONE at all understand what's going on here with this situation? Anything you can answer would be at least a little help... what a pretzel! (talk) 00:57, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

A woman can not be a tenor I think you are a contralto. Tenor, baritone and bass only apply to men. (talk) 03:42, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

How then does one purport to classify a woman who can sing LOWER than a contralto? Are we to keep lowering the bottom end of the contralto range indefinitely to encompass what for men would be a tenor/baritone range?
If so, then the term "contralto" is rendered meaningless as a result. It becomes little more than a catch-all term with no clearly defined lower limit.
What exactly separates a "contralto" from a "tenor"? (Other than gender?) How are we to define the terms? Where do we draw the line?
Low voices are not the exclusive province of the male gender alone. LizFL (talk) 04:02, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
I am highly skeptical that this person truely has a lower vocal range than that of the contralto voice type since the typical contralto can sing into the mid part of the bass vocal range (although some can indeed sing even lower). No one said that low voices were an exclusively male property. However, the terms "tenor", "baritone", and "bass" are exclusively applied to men. Any book you will find on voice classification divides the voice types along sex lines. It's not descrimanatory, just a fact. Sex is one of the factors in determining voice type. It's always been that way, and no book on voice classification will tell you differently. This has always been the case throughout history. Also, true contaltos (which are rare) are female voices which have a very low vocal range that is similar to the vocal ranges found in men. However, these women have a different timbre and often a different tessitura than male singers who have a similar vocal range. Hence why they are not lumped together with male singers into the same voice classification. Female contaltos also experience passagio in different places in their voices then basses, baritones and tenors do, so their are practical reasons not to lump them together with men when teaching singing and when composing music for these voices. Remember, that physically, men's vocal chords are much longer and thicker than women's vocal chords and this plays an important factor in not only the quality of sound produced but also the physical process of singing. There are some differences in singing technique between men and women.4meter4 (talk) 04:12, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

As a reply to whoever said the thing about contralto being bottomless even in theory it is not. But the TIPYCAL contralto range spans from E3 to E5. (talk) 20:03, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

It is a fact that in large amateur choirs, there are often some women singing tenor. At least this is the case in the large New York City choirs, such as The New York Oratorio Society. But I never saw a woman sing as a tenor soloist. So this is just something that choir directors do to (a) accommodate untrained women singers who feel comfortable in the tenor range; and (b) smooth out the highest tenor notes that some amateur tenors might have trouble singing in tune. Plus, there are often more women than men interested in singing in choruses and, particularly in amateur choruses, there is often a serious lack of tenors. So, this is a "practical" and happy solution that music directors have found. In my experience, they never point this out or discuss it in the program; they merely list the names of those in the tenor section alphabetically without comment. I am sure that a large majority of these women who have been singing tenor either regard themselves as altos or could have, with training, sung alto; but why should they, when the music director of their choir is saying: "Can anyone else sing tenor? We only have 15 tenors, but 90 altos." It works very well in practice, and if you read the New York Times reviews of these choirs, the reviewers never say "oh horror, I saw some ladies singing tenor!" However, if you go to music schools, I do not think that you will find any women being trained as tenors. Now, back to Wikipedia: Should any of this be mentioned in the article - i.e. that amateur women singers sometimes feel comfortable singing tenor, and do? I don't think so, because I doubt you will find much written about it, and because it does not affect the professional singing world. -- Ssilvers (talk) 02:49, 24 March 2012 (UTC)

It seems to be the key to understanding lady tenors in choirs is to understand the difference between musical parts (and the section of singers that sing that part), and the terms applied opera singers. It does not help that some of the names are used in both contexts (soprano, tenor and bass) but these things mean different things in each context. If they didn't most of the singers in a choir would be mis-described because the majority of singers would, using the opera classification system, be mezzo-sopranos and baritones. What unifies the people in the tenor section of a typical mixed choir is having the vocal range required to sing typical choral tenor parts. If these singers were to be assessed as individuals, according to the system used for operatic soloists, most would probably be higher baritones, a few would be tenors and, if women are part of the section, these would likely be contraltos. If a choral director takes the trouble to check the ranges of his or her singers and finished such a check by saying "yes, you're a tenor" he is much more likely to mean "your range is suitable for singing the tenor part in the kind of music we sing" than "it's time to become Jonas Kaufmann's understudy". Because, in a choir, the names refer to parts it is possible for a ladies choir to have tenor and bass sections but that doesn't mean the ladies in the bass section are going to sound like Willard White it just means they are singing the lowest part in the music. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Steve James (talkcontribs) 22:22, 20 February 2018 (UTC)

Considering your range is so wide for a contralto and the fact that you can sing high soprano notes you may be a soprano sfogato. But if your extreme lower notes sound pushed and not smooth you may just be a mezzo or soprano with a low extension. Or if your higher notes sound strained you may just be a contralto or mezzo with an upper extension. Also, contraltos who can sing tenor, baritone and bass notes comfortably and with resonance and vibrato are called tiefer alt (low Alto), contralto profundo and contralto basso/oktavistka respectively. — Preceding unsigned comment added by YusefJCB (talkcontribs) 21:39, 29 July 2018 (UTC)

A more legitimate "female tenor" questionEdit

Is there a technical term for women who sing in a tenor part in choirs that have them? I'm well-aware that women (other than transgender women, or possibly cisgender women with hormal problems) could not technically be lower than contralto in terms of your actual individual voice type, but regardless, what would you print on a program if you're singing in mixed-voice four-part harmony and the tenor part happens to be covered by a contralto? As others have said, this is common in amateur choirs where women outnumber men. I'm doing an arrangement of an SATB work where the tenor part is being taken by a low contralto, and not sure how to list her voice type in the program. Beggarsbanquet (talk) 08:18, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

A woman whose tessitura lies comfortably in the tenor range would be a tiefer alt or low Alto fach. Women who sing baritone and bass comfortably are called contralto profundo and contralto basso/oktavistka. — Preceding unsigned comment added by YusefJCB (talkcontribs) 21:41, 29 July 2018 (UTC)

Domingo is Spinto?Edit

May I know based on what that he is labelled as Spinto,and not Dramatic? If it is based on most of his repertoire as listed under Spinto, then you should also look at Dramatic Tenor's repertoire. I admit that it is a bit hard to categorized his fach since he repertoire is too vast but as someone who have been listening/watching Domingo for many years, Dramatic Tenor fits him the most. Also, look at your "definition" of Dramatic Tenor, that is how many fans of Domingo and opera critics portrays Domingo's voice. But I decided not to change anything. I just wish if wikipedia's facts are more accurate than this and based on thorough analysis, than just because of somebody here thinks that it was right. Think of his signature roles.

--Jay 00:38, 11 January 2013

Who's the "you" you're addressing? This page has been edited, as is the Wikipedia way, by many editors, a surprising number of which have chosen not to create an account or have very few edits to their credit. As a result, the lists of roles and singers on this page, and on the other voice type pages, are often dubious and rarely cited. I suspect most serious editors in the field of classical music have abandoned these articles. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 06:42, 11 January 2013 (UTC)
The anonymous editor or editors is not alone in finding it rather strange to have a tenor article that makes no mention at all of Domingo among so many other names! Repertoire of Plácido Domingo starts with some lyric roles like Alfredo, Rodolfo then moves into Faust, Don José, Don Carlo. Otello and Enée turn up later, and Parsifal, Siegmund & Figaro later still. Though only debut dates are given and I'm not sure when things got dropped, it seems like we could fairly say Don José is a signature role characteristic of his voice at its peak, or else we could have a paragraph about why he can't be listed in any single category. Sparafucil (talk) 09:59, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
This list is supposed to present notable tenors as examples for each fach or voice type. The list of roles for Domingo you mention makes it quite clear that he defies such pigeon-holing. I'm sure reliable sources can be found to classify him in several ways, including as a baritone; that just makes him unsuitable for this list, which is not simply a list of tenors. Such a list is much easier navigated through Category:Tenors and its subcategories. Apart from most of the Mozart tenors listed here, no singer's fach is sourced in this list, so I would support removing all the names from this article unless they can be unambiguously sourced. But I have no great hope that this will happen. For now, I suggest to remove Domingo once more. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 11:43, 21 January 2015 (UTC)
  • I propose to remove all names of "example singers" from all these operatic voice type articles. They are not meant to be lists of singers, and for the reasons touched on by Michael above, they are very problematic and both misleading and confusing. They should contain examples of the roles written for these voice types, and at most the singer who created that role. As this applies to all the voice type articles, I have opened a discussion on the general issue at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Opera#Problems with voice type articles and a potential solution. Voceditenore (talk) 16:03, 21 January 2015 (UTC)

Ben Heppner is a HeldentenorEdit

Whoever removed Ben Heppner as a heldentenor, can you please not do so again! Ben Heppner is a heldentenor and should be mentioned as such. Thank you. Reverend Edward Brain, D.D. (talk) 21:07, 4 March 2013 (UTC)

Can you provide a source that says this? Leprof 7272 (talk) 03:40, 17 April 2017 (UTC)

Tenor high CEdit

An early paragraph says "tenor high c" is C5 and calls it the C above middle c. But surely the figure shows C6 - 2 c's above middle c. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:17, 1 November 2013 (UTC)

You missed the "8" under the pictured G-clef which indicates that the notes are to be transposed down by 1 octave from the written score; this is also called "8vb" or ottava bassa. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 15:17, 1 November 2013 (UTC)

"slender emission of sound"Edit

Hello. I am just curious as to what was meant by this phrase in the description of the Mozart tenor type. Being a singer myself and an admirer of Mozart tenors (Léopold Simoneau is one who springs to mind), I have some idea of what is meant by "slender emission of sound", but I feel that it might not be clear to many readers and/or seem too subjective. Might it not need further explanation, or linking to another page that describes what is meant? Could the author add a short description of what is meant here on the Talk page?

Otherwise, I feel, this is a fine article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Lestrad (talkcontribs) 06:26, 1 April 2015 (UTC)

Same as soprano?Edit

Someone keeps changing the sheet music range of the tenor to be identical to that of the soprano. The tenor is C3-C5, not C4-C6, the soprano's range. I know this person otherwise understands that the tenor is one octave down from the soprano, so I'm not sure why they keep doing this. —Prhartcom 14:34, 17 May 2016 (UTC)

Now I see that they had added the octave mark. But I don't see the benefit of this notation. Readers are going to compare the sheet music of the voice type articles and don't need this complication. For consistency with other voice type articles that each show the straightforward treble and/or bass clef staff, I have reverted to the two staffs, similar to the baritone article. —Prhartcom 14:45, 17 May 2016 (UTC)

I see great benefit in this notation as it is the one you will actually see in all scores (except the century-old ones that use tenor clef). Whenever the tenors get their own staff, the octave-down treble clef is always used today. It does no good to avoid it, and in fact the old picture is confusing to me because I would mentally supply the octave mark (since it is sometimes not included as understood). Avoiding confusion is well and good, but surely we need to reflect it as it would actually be shown. Surely we would not list the range of the viola starting in the bass clef? Double sharp (talk) 07:35, 18 May 2016 (UTC)

Don Kossack TenorsEdit

There are 2 types of tenors in the original and in the actual Don kossack Choir Serge Jaroff/Wanja Hlibka The 1st tenor is a classical trained tenor or even Baritone singing in Falsetto. Reaching notes to C6 or even above The second tenor is mostly a Helden or dramatic tenor but with an extendet vocal range to C#5 and above. They sing always in a very full resonant and extremely loud voice cause they are opera singers.Saludacymbals (talk) 18:35, 20 February 2017 (UTC)

Those details, if they can be reliably sourced, might be mentioned at Don Cossack Choir. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 01:02, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

Tried to assist today, but found it impossibleEdit

I reviewed, repaired, and completed all sources today, in trying to dig deeper into the meaning of "holdentenor" with a young person. In doing these citation improvements—compare the citations between yesterday, 15 April, and today, the 16th—I found several alarming things about the article.

First, the bulk of the material for the "Subcategories and roles in opera" section were put in place from the Richard Boldrey source, which was originally cited repeatedly in each subsection of this subsection. However, these early citations did not give the page numbers, the source is apparently not available digitally, and—most alarmingly—these repeat sprinkled references to this work were removed by someone, at sometime, from these subsections. At present, they appear once in each subsection, at the start of the component subsection lists; the earlier record made it seem the same source was the place from which most content of the introductory paragraph in each subsection was also drawn. Bottom line, it appears a valid, verifiable source of much of this section's content was originally stated, then removed.

Second, the lack of transparency in the sourcing—in the section just mentioned, but also throughout the article—leaves a variety of content issues, a significant one of which is the fact that the ranges given in in the lead for operatic and choral tenors do not line up well with the material on ranges given in the choral and opera sections of the main article. Hence, the article was tagged to indicate these discrepancies.

Finally, a look at an early version of the article makes it appear it was drawn from the Grove online source (created en mass, no inline citations given). The Boldrey material was added to this, with citations, then most of those inline citations were removed. The result is an apparent plagiarised admixture of the Grove and Boldery sources, with little or no specific inline reference to either.

Into this, others have been adding yet more material, sourced and unsourced, for some time.

Until it is sorted, what came from these two subscription/limited access sources, the article is unusable in any classroom setting. One may as well read the IPASource online article, and skip the Wikipedia entirely, as being of dubious reliability (based on our policy of verifiability).

Le Prof Leprof 7272 (talk) 03:36, 17 April 2017 (UTC)

I don't think the article was improved since 15 March 2017. Restoring that version and then carefully improving it might be good start. OTOH, removing all role lists and starting from scratch is also an option, although that should first be discussed at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Opera. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 07:18, 17 April 2017 (UTC)
@Leprof 7272 and Michael Bednarek: Due to WP:OVERTAGGING, I have removed some of the notices from the page since it is especially hard for me, and probably many readers, to read it without disruptions. I am aware of your concerns with this article and I can see what needs to be done in order to improve it. But due to the severity of the issues, should we consider rewriting this article from the ground up so we don't have to worry about copyright infringements and other problems? DSCrowned(talk) 03:03, 11 July 2017 (UT)
@DSCrowned: With due respect, any attempt to beautify the article—to, as you say, remove the disruptions to your reading—are a misrepresentation of the quality of the content, and a disservice to readers who deserve to know whether what they are reading is trustworthy. What is truly disruptive—to education, transparency, and the future of true knowledge, presented online—is the attitude that article appearance is more important than an accurate representation of the component of WP articles that is unsourced, mistakenly attributed/stated, or fully plagiarised. Leprof 7272 (talk) 14:50, 23 September 2018 (UTC)
@Leprof 7272: Thanks for your time. I am aware that this was added by this edit who mistakenly believed that there were too many tags. DSCrowned(talk) 07:17, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

It is acceptable for certain soft high notes, and certain very high notes, to be sung in falsettoEdit

I was prompted to create this section by this comment in the current article: "In the leggero repertoire, the highest note is F5 (Arturo in "Credeasi, misera" from Bellini's I puritani),[6] therefore, very few tenors have this role in their repertoire without transposition (given the raising of concert pitch since its composition).[7]"

I note that that high F is so extraordinarily high that is acceptable for it to be sung falsetto, as was done very expressively by the great Luciano Pavarotti (4m 50s into Not all high tenor notes need to be sung full voice!

It would probably be useful to include a section in the article referring to the extensive use of falsetto by operatic tenors in the late 19th century and to its current more limited use in selected passages; particularly soft, high passages. Geek987 (talk) 16:54, 31 May 2017 (UTC)

"Credeasi" is an extraordinary exception; I'm sure there are references mention falsetto for that. For the more general case of "soft, high passages", reputable sources need to be found. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 06:42, 1 June 2017 (UTC)
This was definitely a thing in the past: IIRC Rossini was not too happy about hearing the then-new generation of tenors belt out B4's and C5's in full voice, and perhaps it is indicative that Mozart in his operas rarely IIRC writes above A4 for tenors. But given differing expectations, I have the strongest doubts that it is acceptable now, except for notes above C5 (which several composers have asked for, such as Liszt in one of the Petrarch sonnets on a D5), or explicit indications in the score for lower notes (e.g. one of Mahler's Wunderhorn songs). Even then, there must be some overlap; the high F in "Credeasi" is usually falsetto (although sometimes it is very powerfully mixed, like Matteuzzi ^_^), but I have never heard the high D-flat in the previous phrase being done that way! Double sharp (talk) 07:42, 12 September 2017 (UTC)
(Exceptions: there is a B4 in the part of Ferrando, early in the second-act finale of Così. Oh, and there is another one later in the same finale at bar 464. Many also appear in the often-cut aria Ah, lo veggio. There is also a C5(!) in the great quartet of Idomeneo in the version where Idamante is a tenor, but I'm inclined to consider that version as simply an adaptation of the original where he is a soprano castrato – and today a soprano. There is also a B4 at the end of Gomatz's first aria in Zaïde.) Double sharp (talk) 05:33, 29 August 2019 (UTC)

Very limitedEdit

What about tenors outside of opera? Do they exist? Of course they do, except on this page, which is far, far, far too limited. CsikosLo (talk) 14:30, 5 September 2017 (UTC)

Return to "Tenor" page.