I recently purchased a tenor recorder, (and can already play the soprano recorder).

I would like to know which voice on sheet music the tenor recorder plays (SATB). I know that soprano recorder plays the soprano voice.

Does the tenor recorder play the alto voice?

Yamaha tenor recorder

  • 1
    What instruments is the sheet music written for? And which instruments are you playing with? Sep 5, 2023 at 5:17

2 Answers 2


It depends on the music. Normally, in sheet music intended for recorder, you play the line that has the recorder's name. For instance, many quartets are for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass recorders, and of course the tenor plays the tenor line. But if you are playing a duet that's marked soprano and alto, the tenor might well play the alto line, if it doesn't go too high.


The soprano recorder plays quite high notes, so the music is written an octave lower than it sounds. For tenor, it plays exactly the pitch which is shown on the music.

Since the notes it plays are from middle C at the lowest, the music fits nicely on the treble clef.

You can always play any treble clef soprano music - it will come out an octave lower than it would on a soprano. Ideally, you need to play the tenor part if the music is written out for several different instruments. It's also possible to play the alto parts, as the higher notes on tenor are within that range. Although it makes sense if there's an alto player, that they play the alto part, leaving a lower part for tenor. Obviously if tenor parts are lacking, double up on the alto (or even soprano) parts.

  • You seem to have confused treble and soprano in your second paragraph. A tenor recorder is an octave lower than a soprano, not an octave lower than a treble. Also, an alto (aka treble) part will not necessarily be playable on a tenor, though many may be. Jul 1, 2019 at 19:32

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