A bass is a type of classical male singing voice and has the lowest vocal range of all voice types. According to The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, a bass is typically classified as having a vocal range extending from around the second E below middle C to the E above middle C (i.e., E2–E4). Its tessitura, or comfortable range, is normally defined by the outermost lines of the bass clef. The bass voice type is generally divided into the basso cantante (singing bass), hoher bass (high bass), jugendlicher bass (juvenile bass), basso buffo ("funny" bass), Schwerer Spielbass (dramatic bass), lyric bass, and dramatic basso profondo (low bass).
A tenor is a type of classical male singing voice whose vocal range is one of the highest of the male voice types. The tenor's vocal range (in choral music) lies between C3, the C one octave below middle C, and A4, the A above middle C. In solo work, this range extends up to C5, or "tenor high C". The low extreme for tenors is roughly A♭2 (two A♭s below middle C). At the highest extreme, some tenors can sing up to two Fs above middle C (F5). The tenor voice type is generally divided into the leggero tenor, lyric tenor, spinto tenor, dramatic tenor, heldentenor, and tenor buffo or spieltenor.
The musical term alto, meaning "high" in Italian (Latin: altus), refers to the second highest part of a contrapuntal musical texture and is also applied to its associated vocal range, especially in choral music. More rarely it describes the highest male solo voice type (usually designated countertenor), and it is also the root word of contralto, the lowest standard female voice type. When designating instruments, "alto" likewise can refer either to the corresponding vocal range (alto flute and alto trombone) or to musical role (alto recorder and alto clarinet).
A soprano [soˈpraːno] is a type of classical female singing voice and has the highest vocal range of all voice types. The soprano's vocal range (using scientific pitch notation) is from approximately middle C (C4) = 261 Hz to "high A" (A5) =880 Hz in choral music, or to "soprano C" (C6, two octaves above middle C) =1046 Hz or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody. The soprano voice type is generally divided into the coloratura, soubrette, lyric, spinto, and dramatic soprano. The lyric soprano is the most common female singing voice.
A choir (/ˈkwaɪ.ər/) (also known as a chorale or chorus) is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform. Choirs may perform music from the classical music repertoire, which spans from the Medieval era to the 2010s, and/or popular music repertoire. Most choirs are led by a conductor, who leads the performances with arm and face gestures.
A body of singers who perform together as a group is called a choir or chorus. The former term is very often applied to groups affiliated with a church (whether or not they actually occupy the choir) and the second to groups that perform in theatres or concert halls, but this distinction is far from rigid. Choirs may sing without instrumental accompaniment, with the accompaniment of a piano or pipe organ, with a small ensemble (e.g., harpsichord, cello and double bass for a Baroque era piece), or with a full orchestra of 70-100 musicians.
The term "Choir" has the secondary definition of a subset of an ensemble; thus one speaks of the "woodwind choir" of an orchestra, or different "choirs" of voices and/or instruments in a polychoral composition. In typical 18th- to 21st-century oratorios and masses, chorus or choir is usually understood to imply more than one singer per part, in contrast to the quartet of soloists also featured in these works.