In the Western music, the term tenor can take on several directions, in report/ratio the ones with the others.
With the the Middle Ages, the word - Latin tenere = to hold - had various significances. As from the 14th century, however, the tenor ended up indicating a voice male generally acute, charged with the principal melody - often rythmée in long values - in opposition to the other voices, higher or lower - including/understanding richer and more varied rhythmic figures -, whose function was to ensure the counterpoint the part of tenor.
Desk in a chorus
The medieval first Polyphonie S are almost exclusively vocal. This origin explains why in a chorus - or a Chorale -, the word tenor indicates before a whole Pupitre, whose Ambitus is located between that of the viola S and that of the low . By extension, the term also designates the members of this desk, and this, whatever their true vocal typology.
Part in a polyphonic building
In a Polyphony, if no vocal source or instrumental particular is mentioned, the tenor indicates simply the musical left located between the low and the viola, by reference to the Quatuor vocal basic - Soprano, viola, tenor and low.
This practice will be preserved, even when the musical writing becomes harmonic - starting from the end of the 16th century. Thus in the conservatory S and the music schools, the duties of harmony, are nowadays still written for soprano, low viola, tenor and.
Type of instrument
Within a family of musical instruments, the tenor indicates the instrument whose Ambitus is located between that of the viola and that of the baritone or the low - according to the family taken into account.
From the point of view of the Tessiture S, there does not exist strict relation between that of an instrument “tenor” and that of the “tenor voice”: for example, the recorder tenor, sound a octave higher than the tenor voice - from this point of view, this type of flute would thus approach tessiture of the voice Soprano.
One finds sometimes “women tenors”, and even of the “women baritone S”, but it is extremely rare.
It goes without saying the voices of boy, the voices of Castrato S and the voices of Contreténor S, are acuter than the tenor voice, but this one are classified separately because their technique is completely different.
the term “tenor” is used at the end of the 18th century, succeeding names of “size” and High-against.
There exist several categories of tenors who differ by the character from the characters that they interpret, the valiancy of the voice and richness of the stamp, the constant being the tessiture, which generally extends from so to if.
The light tenor - tenore di grazia in Italian - has the highest tessiture, nimblest, but least powerful.
For example, the role of the count Almaviva , in the Barber of Seville of Rossini, is a role of light tenor. Luigi Alva, Juan Diego Florez, Nicolaï Gedda, Peter Schreier, Michel Seneshal, are examples of light tenors.
the High-against is a variety of light tenor having a particularly high Tessiture - approaching that of the Contralto -, frequently employed in the repertory of the French Baroque music - Lully, Charpentier, Rameau, etc
The lyric tenor - occupies the intermediate place between the preceding type and the following, as well from the point of view of the agility as of that of the power.
The tenor lyrico-spinto has same vocal tessiture as the lyric tenor with a fuller voice and slightly darker.
- By exmple, Free Corelli, Aureliano Pertile, Placido Domingo.
The dramatic tenor has the most powerful Tessiture the least nimble, but.
One speaks sometimes about “heroic tenor”, “Heldentenor”, “extremely-tenor”, or, of “noble tenor”: all these terms return more or less to the same category. For example, the title role of Siegfried, Wagner, is a dramatic role of tenor. Jon Vickers is a dramatic example of tenor.
The trial or tenor puffs out , strictly speaking does not indicate a vocal category, but a tenor specialized in comic employment, or more largely, a tenor broken with the requirements of the scenic play. The tessiture required is generally not very wide, and the vocal means in theory more modest - they are often light tenors.
For example, the role of Monostatos , in the Magic Flute of Mozart, is a role of tenor puffs out.
- See the list of the tenors.
With the illustrated direction, and in reference to the tenors soloists, who at the 19th century, acquired a large celebrity in the field of the music of opera, the word tenor designates usually a man known for his talent in the activity which he carries on.
Examples: a “tenor of the bar”, to appoint a famous lawyer; a “tenor of the policy”, to designate a famous politician; etc
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