There are several types of tenor voice, including 'lyric' and 'dramatic', and several specialist types of tenor have emerged over the years. These include Irish tenors and Heldentenors, who have distinctive qualities especially in the upper register. The range of a lyric tenor is from about C3 - C5, and a dramatic tenor from about A2 - Bb4. The two voices are quite distinct: the lyric has a light quality and a smooth (although not powerful) head voice, whereas the dramatic is strong in all registers. A typical choir is likely to contain a mixture of these voices, and the range of a tenor chorus will be approximately C3 - G4 (with A4 as a very occasional exciting top note!).

The convention in notating for tenors is to write in the treble clef (marked 8vb) an octave higher than sounding, thus:
Tenor notation
(This will produce a sounding C3)

The baritone voice is the commonest male voice and forms the backbone of most choral tenor or bass sections. Generally their range is from G2 - E4, but obviously this varies a great deal depending on the singers. Solo baritones divide up into lyric and dramatic, with much the same properties as the tenors, but a range about a minor third lower.

The bass baritone is a distinct voice with a dark, heavy quality and a range that extends down to F#2. Bass voices also have distinct characteristics, but these apply only to trained singers.

The untrained bass usually found in choirs has a range of roughly Eb2 - D4, and relatively little differentiation in tone across the registers. The trained bass voices include: bass cantante (with a light, even sound and some agility in the upper register), and basso profundo (with a range extending down to C2 and below). In opera, there is also a comic bass voice, called bass buffo.

The Orchestra: A User's Manual is a free resource and will remain so. It still receives between 8,000 and 16,000 unique visits per month from all over the world. See the testimonials. Thanks to all the donations, I have been able to create this responsive re-design. But the movies and sound clips recorded in 2004 do show their age. I would really like to re-record everything and add many more techniques, especially for solo and ensemble writing. I estimate this will cost around £50,000. If you know a source of such funds, please contact me: a.hugill [at]