Definition and background:
The male voice which has a range of C below middle C to G above middle C.See also Tenore Di Forza, Tenore Robusto, and Heldentenor. Any instrument of that range is said to be a tenor instrument, such as the tenor saxophone and the tenor recorder, etc. In Medieval music, the tenor was the foundation or sustaining part or a polyphonic composition, and in the late Medieval era and early Renaissance, the tenor generally was the melody part. (1) a structural voice near or at the bottom of the musical texture in polyphonic works. During the Middle Ages, the tenor is the part which is most likely to have borrowed material (a plainchant excerpt, for instance). It is also the part which is most likely to employ melodic repetition or to use isorhythm. It also provides part of the contrapuntal harmonic foundation for compositions; see discant-tenor framework. (2) a high man's voice; also, a voice part which falls into that register. During the fourteenth century, the "tenorista" was often a highly-paid soloist. (3) a reciting tone for a particular mode, that is, a note that can be repeated as many times as is necessary for the number of syllables in a given line of text. The tenor for each mode is included on the table of modes.
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary