The tenor is a high singing male voice. Tenor: description, variety and classification
The voice is an amazing gift of man. Everyone has his own, unique and inimitable. However, in professional art there is a clear classification that combines certain types of voices into groups according to different criteria: sound strength, vocal and technical qualities, timbre, etc. The tenor is the first among men. This is the voice of the great opera singers, with whom we will get acquainted in detail in this article.
Tenor is called the high singing voice of men. It is the most popular in the world. Translated from the Latin, the word means "voice tension" or "uniform motion." In terms of its range, the tenor in solo parts is able to reach the “pre” note of the second octave. And in choral performances, its limit is the note “la” of the first octave.
In opera singing, soloists with tenor are valued, who are able to take the B-flat purely of the first and the “before” the second octave. By the way, this quality is considered the most beautiful, upper register of a tenor voice. It is often referred to as the “top up” or royal note. In Italy, for the ability to take her singers pay large fees.
There is a classification of a given voice, which implies dividing a tenor by its timbre and range. In this regard, it is customary to distinguish between:
- baritone tenor;
- counter tenor;
- altino tenor.
Let's deal with each type of male voice separately.
Lyric tenor- This is a voice with a soft, "silver" timbre with good mobility and melodiousness of sound. Under it today in the operatic repertoire created a huge number of parties. These are Faust (the opera of the same name by Gounod), Lensky (“Eugene Onegin” by Tchaikovsky), Alfred (“La Traviata” by Verdi), Pierre Bezukhov (“War and Peace” by Prokofiev) and many others. In operas written by Rossini and Mozart, the parties require a high mobility from the tenor and a fairly wide range.Therefore, soloists suitable for this role should have a special, Rossini (or Mozart) tenor.
Much less common in operasdramatic tenor. It is characterized by a thick, rich sound. He is often confused with a lyric baritone. However, it has more power and a brighter timbre. In operas for this type of voice, parties are created for images with conflicting characters and a tragic fate. For example, Jose from Carmen by Bizet, Othello (Verdi's opera) or Herman from Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades. In opera art, there is the concept of the heroic Wagner tenor. The fact is that the operas of Richard Wagner are distinguished by scale and require great stamina from a performer with a dramatic tenor, forcing him to continuously powerfully and heroically sing for several hours.
There is also an intermediate type calledlyric-dramatic tenor. It is inferior to dramatic in strength of sound and expression of drama, but surpasses the lyric tenor. This is a universal tool for translating both genres of operatic repertoire.
Baritone tenor- a voice that simultaneously has the characteristics of a baritone and a tenor.By the strength of the sound, it coincides with its predecessors, but it has a short upper register range. A suitable operatic role for this type of voice is Mime from Wagner’s cycle The Ring of the Nibelung.
Altino tenoris a kind of lyric tenor with a well-developed upper register and range, reaching the note "mi" of the second octave. All these qualities impose certain restrictions on the repertoire. An example of a part for altino-tenor is the Stargazer from the Golden Cockerel opera by Rimsky-Korsakov.
Increasingly widespread in opera singing is gainingcounter tenor. This is the highest male singing voice. Its range extends from a note “to” a small one and to a “si” of the second octave. It can be demonstrated by the performance of the Flight of the Condor, written in 1913 by Peruvian composer D. Robles.
Who can sing tenor?
Tenor - the voice that can most often be heard in operas and musicals. Experts say that it is the most complex technique of male singing and you can learn how to own it only during many years of practice.Of course, it should be remembered that not every man can sing a tenor. After all, it all depends on what kind of voice rewarded his nature.
Can you sing as a tenor baritone - a voice with a lower tone? Of course, it is simply impossible for him to reach the upper registers. But men who have a soft, high voice with the help of a professional teacher and diligence can develop a tenor. Do not forget about musical theory and notes, without the knowledge of which the development of complex singing technique would be empty.
A popular American tenor is Richard Croft. He has a lyric, or rather, Mozart tenor. Alessandro Safina is a little inferior to him in the vocal range.
But the most famous holders of high voices are the Spaniards Placido Domingo, José Carreras and the Italian Luciano Pavarotti, who made up the legendary opera trio Three Tenors. In this composition, the singers toured the world with concerts from 1990 to 2003.
Owners of the tenor are found in pop art. Among those known to all are Chester Bennington from Linkin Park, Adam Levine from Maroon 5, Michael Jackson, Adam Lambert, Billy Ocean, Ryan Tedder from One Republic and many others.Of course, their vocal range is significantly inferior to opera singers from the trio Three Tenors. Is that the "golden voice of Russia" - Nikolai Baskov - can be compared with them, since the singer came to the stage from the opera, and therefore has not just great vocal, but several years of improving them for opera roles behind him.
And finally, some interesting facts:
- In addition to defining a male singing voice, a tenor is also a brass musical instrument belonging to a group of sax horn. Its creation was first taken up by Adolf Sachs in the middle of the XIX century. Today, the tenor saxophone is perhaps the most popular instrument in jazz music.
- Known male singers who sing in the range of the female voice. In the era of the Baroque, such operatic roles were played by castrates — young men who were castrated to preserve a high voice. Today the counter-tenors successfully cope with this role.