Thursday, August 26, 2004

Range

Range is a term of great consequence to musicians. Range of instruments varies widely from the piano with a full seven octaves plus some to the singer we like to classify as monotone capable of singing one note. Range is the pitches between the highest and lowest note of an instrument. (The New Harvard Dictionary of Music 4th ed. Edited by Don Randel. Article "range") When discussing range it is also important to understand the concept of tessitura. Tessitura is simply the area of an instruments range where the majority of notes played or sung sit. For example, the lyric tenor is capable of singing at least a high C (C5), however lyric tenor roles seldom contain more than three or four high Cs. The majority of the notes sung by lyric tenors sit between F3 and F4. Another example of tessitura versus range is piano composition. The outlying A and C7 are seldomly used in songs and if they are used it is usually only one time. In conclusion range really doesn't adequately define the high and low capabilities of an instrument.