Many people mention terms like "low" and "high" tenors. Are there formal definitions of "high tenor"?

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    Presumably you're asking if the vocal range is formally defined? In which case, no, vocal ranges aren't strictly defined. They are generally descriptive of a singer's range, but not definitive. – Aaron Feb 2 at 12:02

That would be the countertenor.


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    Arguably (and you didn't specify which one would be). While "High tenor" has been used to indicate Countertenor, if used in the context of "high" and "low" it refers to the vocal range. – musicamante Feb 2 at 12:31
  • @musicamante so the term can be used to mean different things but all of the definitions refer to a male voice who can sing higher than most male voices? – user74879 Feb 2 at 12:40
  • @andrewjohnsson yes and no: a tenor could sing at the same range of a countertenor, the point is the technique and the vocal range in which he performs; countertenors often use falsetto, which allows higher notes than "in-voice" (I believe it's called "modal voice" in English): he may be able to sing in voice at that range, but not at full extent ("power"), as the produced sound could be not good as it should, or he couldn't correctly sustain it for long notes while staying in pitch. As Aaron said, vocal ranges are not definitive. – musicamante Feb 2 at 12:50
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    @andrewjohnsson I don't think "countertenor" is what you're looking for. Within the standard "Tenor" designation there are tenors whose voices tend toward the higher part of the overall range and tenors whose voices tend toward the lower part of the overall range. That is what is usually referred to be "high" and "low" tenor. Countertenor is an entirely different vocal range, more in line with the Alto. – Aaron Feb 2 at 17:45

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