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When I sing I like the higher keys. I do not have that low voice that most people have. Even some tenors have that low voice. Sometimes I sing hymns a major thid higher than the keys found in the hymn books. Some of the melodies in the hymn books are extremely low for me. I find that Bb2 is too low for me. That note is extremely low. G4 on the other hand is not that difficult to sing. The easiest key for Silent night is D. My teacher told me that I have the voice of a "tenor 1" in the choir.

What does it mean to have a voice of a "tenor 1"?

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Note that tenors are disposed differently in mixed choirs (where they are topped by alto and soprano) and in men's choirs where they are the highest voice. When your teacher talks about "tenor 1", he probably talks about a men's choir disposed as TTBB (tenor 1, tenor 2, baritone, bass). This is similar to barbershop which is TLBB (tenor, lead, baritone, bass). Barbershop's tenor tends to deploy head voice (or even falsetto) more amply than "standard" tenor 1, usually supplying a harmony voice to the lead carrying the melody. In classical choirs, the role of tenor 1 tends to be less complimentary.

Either way, in an all-male choir the ability to smoothly move into a heady or light register tends to be appreciated in the highest voice while it may not be as popular in a mixed SATB choir. Also, in a TTBB or TLBB choir, the low notes are sufficiently well catered for that the need to go low for first tenor just does not arise.

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Tenor 1 voice is usually referred as "first tenor". Quoting Wikipedia:

Men's chorus usually denotes an ensemble of TTBB in which the first tenor is the highest voice.

Typically (but not always) the 1st Tenor part is the melody, with the other parts as harmony(s).

So basically tenor 1 is taking care of high part of the tenor range.

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  • what range is tenor 1?
    – user20754
    Nov 30 '20 at 12:54
  • @Hank Basically the same as tenor, but T1 will be more comfortable, and so, have more power in the highest part of the tenor range.
    – Tom
    Nov 30 '20 at 13:13
  • Tenor parts are not that high in beginner choirs. A tenor might not even need to sing above F4. For a tenor this is not a very high note at all. I always thought that tenors needed to sing at least up to Ab4. Tenors parts are often kind of low. Perhaps professional choirs have high tenor parts
    – user20754
    Nov 30 '20 at 14:36

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