Lv 7

Tenor 2's or Bass 1's?

I'm a 2nd tenor (Tenor 2) and we're singing a piece in which the male voices are divided into a triad. How does one discern who—Tenor 2's or Bass 1's—take the middle note of that triad? I was taught that the stem direction dictates which part is responsible: stem up = Tenor 2; stem down = Bass 1. Am I correct in assuming that, or is the split entirely up to the discretion of the director, regardless of what is printed?

3 Answers

  • 2 years ago

    The tenors section is the largest male section in most choirs, not the bass., providing there is a bass section. There is no first and second bass. The classification is baritone and bass. Male choirs that have four vices have first and second tenors, baritone and bass. As for note stems, when you look at a musical score for four voices if all voices on are on two staves, (treble and bass), the soprano part is written with the stems up and the alto with the stems down on the treble staff, and the tenor part is written with the stems up and the bass part with the stems down on the bass staff..

  • RJ
    Lv 7
    2 years ago

    Either the second tenors or the first basses can sing the middle note of the triad. However, when the note has the stem pointing up, then it is correct that the second tenors sing the middle note, just as the stem of the note pointing down means that the first basses sing that note.

    The bass section of most choirs far outnumbered the tenor section. If your choir has far fewer tenors than basses, then the first basses could sing the middle note of the triad. Most importantly, the choir director should carefully listen to the triad being sung as written, with the second tenors singing the middle note of the triad. The choir director could then decide if the balance of the voices is okay. If the balance of the voices is not to the choir director's liking, he/she could assign some first basses to sing the middle note of the triad.

    Source(s): I am an assistant choir director
  • 2 years ago

    I am a retired choral director- yet are 4 of us in this family (2 retired, son and wife 18 years in). You are dealing with live people in singing groups, and no 2 are the same. So when determining voicing and balance, you try a few combinations and LISTEN. As someone with a few Theory degrees, I can assure you that in many cases, the stems mean little, but are placed for reading clarity, period. So line the guys up, divvy them up, and listen. Need to adjust? Tell a few to take a step left or right.

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