I have never been singing in a choir before. Yesterday I went to a organist for an audition. He asked me to sing the the tenor line while he was playing the full SATB arrangement. It felt a bit weird to not sing the highest line, ie the soprano line. It seem like it is easier to focus on the highest note. What do people do in order to hear and focus on the tenor line?


It was not the best plan to go to an organist without preparation and some attempts like I'm going to tell you here, if you want to avoid the risk to feel blamed again.

It was not bad when you heard also the soprano. The best will be if you would try before to go to an organist to listen in a 4 part setting at all voices and sing all one by one and finally pick out the tenor. There are many sites with choral music where you can listen at each voice isolated. Try also to focus first on the bass and then on the tenor.


  • He did not want me to be prepared. It was an audition in which I was to be tested like this. – Hank Nov 14 '19 at 9:48
  • This is very strange to me. No choir member I've ever known would have been unprepared .... – Albrecht Hügli Nov 14 '19 at 10:00
  • I agree, this is a very strange request. – Scott Wallace Nov 14 '19 at 15:20
  • I disagree, although it depends on what you mean by preparing. It is necessary to practice the skill, but I would expect an audition to include testing your ability to sight sing and/or pick out a line from several being played (i.e. I'd expect to be generally prepared for the type of thing, but not specifically for the pieces of music in that part (which might be the only part) of an audition). – meta Nov 15 '19 at 11:12

As it always is with questions like this, the answer is lots of practice.

It sounds like you were being tested on sight-singing, which if you have no choral experience it makes sense that you weren't able to do it. The Tenor part is the hardest to sight sing (in my opinion and experience) since the soprano and bass lines are dominating and the alto has more obvious harmonies a lot of the time. You need to become adept at finding your starting pitch and moving to the correct notes based on the intervals in the music.

  • Sight read or sight singing means that you will have to see all the harmonies at once, ie. analyse everything on the spot. How do people do that? I need to sit down and analyse. – Hank Nov 15 '19 at 10:05
  • sight singing means you have to figure out your notes specifically on sight, not everyone's – Legorhin Nov 15 '19 at 15:51
  • You should only look at the tenor part? The tenor part is not a separate melody from the four-part harmony. I want to see the full part since the tenor part only make sense if I see all voices. – Hank Nov 16 '19 at 17:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.