Preferred Name

Randall Criswell Ball

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Date of Graduation

Spring 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


School of Music


Kevin McMillan

Don Rierson

Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy


Classical singers learn about the European Fach System early in their career. By determining which Fach a voice type fits, one can then understand which operatic repertoire is suited to study and perform. It is a reliable guide, protecting singers as they grow and function in their workplace. Since oratorio roles are predominantly not included in this system, it can sometimes be challenging for singers and pedagogues to place these roles unambiguously into a Fach. Without the security of a pedagogical system or guide, singers may be miscast in oratorio productions, which can result in a less effective performance, a misunderstanding of the acoustical qualities of the voice, or vocal injury or damage.

Drawing upon the pedagogical parameters of the existing European Fach System, this Doctor of Musical Arts Document will delineate the specific Fach for solo tenor roles in standard oratorio repertoire. Specifically, this document discusses the technical aspects of the tenor voice that define its specific Fach within the general ‘tenor’ Fach, and demonstrates how the European Fach System can be applied for specific tenor Fach in operatic literature. This document extrapolates the operatic Fach system into the oratorio repertoire, including a brief overview of the evolution of the use of the tenor voice in sacred music and oratorio repertoire, with specific references to vocal range, tessitura, orchestration or orchestral accompaniment, and orchestral tuning of several representative tenor oratorio roles, including: Evangelista in Bach’s Matthäus-Passion, BWV 244 (1727), tenor role in Händel’s Messiah, HWV 56 (1742), Uriel in Haydn’s Creation, H. 21/2 (1798), Samson in G. F. Händel’s Samson, HWV 57 (1743), Jesus in Beethoven’s Christus am Ölberge, Op. 85 (1803), and tenor role in Britten's War Requiem, Op. 66 (1962). An extensive appendix of tenor roles in the standard oratorio repertoire with suggested tenor Fach is provided.



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