From tenere, the Latin “to hold.” Originally, a vocal part with sustained notes in sacred music. Now used to refer to a male voice which has a range from about C-below-middle-C upwards about two octaves, and by extension, instruments which have a similar tessitura. Music written for the tenor register is notated with a tenor clef, which has middle-C on the fourth line of the stave. The term counter tenor is used to specify a male voice singing in the alto range. The other registers are alto, baritone, bass, and soprano. See also treble and voice.

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