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highest natural male voicevoice,
sound produced by living beings. The source of the sound in human speaking and singing is the vibration of the vocal cords, which are inside the larynx, and the production of the sounds is called phonation.
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. In medieval polyphony, tenor was the name given to the voice that had the cantus firmus, a preexisting melody, often a fragment of plainsong, to which other voices in counterpoint were added. The cantus was arranged in notes of long duration, hence the term tenor, from the Latin tenere, to hold. In about the 12th cent., when this practice arose, the various parts in polyphonic music were roughly equal in range, and it was some centuries later that tenor came to denote a voice of any certain range. The male alto range is termed countertenorcountertenor,
a male singing voice in the alto range. Singing in this range requires either a special vocal technique called falsetto, or a high extension of the tenor range.
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. In certain families of instruments the member whose register corresponds to that of the tenor voice is called tenor, e.g., tenor horn and tenor trombone.



(1) A high male singing voice with a range from C below middle C to A above. The main types of tenor are the lyric tenor, or tenore di grazia, and the dramatic tenor, or tenore di forza. The lyric tenor is characterized by its soft timbre, ability to sing tuneful melodies, and mobility. The dramatic tenor is distinguished by great force and breadth of sound over the entire range. There is also a lyric-dramatic tenor and an alto, which reaches E above high C.

(2) A musical wind instrument used in wind bands. The term also refers to some musical instruments, usually of middle register, belonging to a given family—as, for example, the tenor saxophone or tenor dombra.

(3) In the Middle Ages, from the 12th century, the voice in contrapuntal composition that carried the main melody, or cantus firmus. At first the tenor was a low voice; with the addition of the bass, it became the middle voice of a polyphonic work.


1. Music
a. the male voice intermediate between alto and baritone, having a range approximately from the B a ninth below middle C to the G a fifth above it
b. a singer with such a voice
c. a saxophone, horn, recorder, etc., intermediate in compass and size between the alto and baritone or bass
d. (as modifier): a tenor sax
a. (in early polyphonic music) the part singing the melody or the cantus firmus
b. (in four-part harmony) the second lowest part lying directly above the bass
3. Bell-ringing
a. the heaviest and lowest-pitched bell in a ring
b. (as modifier): a tenor bell
4. Law
a. the exact words of a deed, etc., as distinct from their effect
b. an exact copy or transcript
References in periodicals archive ?
Among TOR singers who went on to bigger careers were Michael Burgess, Paul Frey, Diane Loeb and Louise Roy Another TOR alumni, tenor Robert Kunzli, studied voice with Macina; today, he's having a fine heldentenor career based at Staatsoper Hannover.
Brennen Guillory brings a genuine Heldentenor timbre to his bucolic songs, and Emma Curtis deploys an amazing range of colours in her introspective settings.
Mac Master has a considerable reputation as a heldentenor and in performance proved equal to the vocal heroics required.
Janice Watson is an emotionally battered Ariadne, Katarszyna Dondalska's vocal tinkling matches her attractive personality as Zerbinetta, and Peter Hoare mercifully avoids hectoring and bleating in Bacchus' difficult Heldentenor writing.
Ryan is lyrical and powerful at once, the ingredients for a true heldentenor.
Willingness and generosity are more in evidence here than singing of the most consummate control, though Canadian Heldentenor Alan Woodrow (well-known to British audiences) copes remarkably well with Guntram's difficult writing.
Although the burly, bearded Heldentenor is in great demand with many of Europe's top companies and could sing back-to-back productions with a globetrotting lifestyle, he opts to pick and choose.
With his purity of sound and ease in the high tessitura, is there a Wagnerian heldentenor in his future?
Alan Woodrow deployed his potent heldentenor to convey the ruthless menace lurking behind Mao Tse-tung's public facade.
If shades of Lohengrin were even more evident than usual, that was partly because of the casting of a heldentenor in the title role.
With his light, muscular tenor (occasionally reminiscent of the young Jon Vickers), this is clearly a youthful Heldentenor in the making.