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High male voice range, extending from about the second B below middle C to the G above it. In the polyphony of the 13th–16th centuries, the tenor was the part that held (Latin, tenere: to hold) the cantus firmus. Tenor voices are often classified as dramatic, lyric, or heroic (heldentenor). In instrument families, tenor refers to the instrument in which the central range is roughly that of the tenor voice (e.g., tenor saxophone).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on tenor, visit Britannica.com.