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Learn about the tenor voice

What is a tenor?

The tenor is the highest male voice type you will find in a typical choir.

This is the voice type with the smallest range, it barely covers two octaves from C3 to B4. Despite this fact, tenors are the most sought after choir singers for 2 major reasons. The first reason is that there aren't as many men singing in choirs to begin with. The second reason is that most male voices, singers or not, are baritones.

In the opera, the primo uomo - literally translated as first man or more easily understood as leading man or main character - is most often a tenor. You'll know he is a tenor from the ringing quality which is very audible in this voice type. A true tenor has a high tessitura, above the middle C4, and uses a blend of head resonance and falsetto, as opposed to falsetto alone.

Many a baritone will try to use this technique to classify as a tenor and some will be successful. These singers are easily visible by their red faces when trying to sing the high notes in the tenor melodic line.

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What range does a tenor sing?

Tenor range.

Typical tenor range: C3 – B4

Listen to the video below to hear the tenor range.

Listen to the tenor voice video on YouTube (35secs)

Famous tenors

Famous classical and operatic tenors include:

Famous tenors in pop and musical theatre include:

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