Looking for the perfect tenor songs to show off your voice in an upcoming audition?
You’ve come to the right place.
Selecting the right song and learning how to sing tenor parts that truly showcase your vocal type is key. Here are a few tenor audition songs in a variety of styles. Any of these pieces are bound to impress if you’ve got the technique!
What Are Good Songs to Sing for a Musical Audition?
If you’re getting ready for an audition, consider these top tenor audition songs –
- “Yesterday” – The Beatles
- “Thinking Out Loud” – Ed Sheeran
- “Something’s Coming” – West Side Story
- “Bring Him Home” – Les Miserables
- “Passeggiata” – The Light in the Piazza
- “Una Furtiva Lacrima” – Elixir of Love
- “Nessun Dorma” – Turandot
Tenor is a wonderful voice type to have, but finding vocal repertoire in a baritone-heavy world is not always easy. Keep reading to find out which of these tenor audition songs is best for your unique voice and audition!
What is a Tenor Singing Voice?
Before you start browsing the list of tenor songs we’ll give you in this post, it’s important to first understand what a tenor actually is. In fact, if you sign up for singing lessons, this is one of the first things you’ll do with your instructor.
Technically, a tenor is a high male voice – the highest male voice you’ll find in an ordinary choir, in fact. It also has the smallest range of all the voice types.
That said, females can also have tenor voices. They just aren’t called tenors, despite the fact that the vocal range is similar. Instead, they are referred to as contraltos. Some female tenor songs (or contralto songs), for reference, might include –
- “Because of You” – Kelly Clarkson
- “No Scrubs” – TLC
- “The Sailor of My Dreams” – Dames at Sea
- “I Really Like Him” – Map of La Mancha
- “Time Stood Still” – Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
If you aren’t sure where your vocal range lies – or you just want to expand your vocal range regardless – be sure to check out this video with some helpful tips on how to do so:
Top 6 Tenor Songs for Auditions
These tenor audition songs are sure to help you land any role!
1. “Yesterday” – The Beatles
This is one of the most popular go-to tenor pop songs. The Guinness Book of World Records says it’s the most covered song in the world. But only true tenors can sing “Yesterday” in the original key, as composed by Sir Paul McCartney.
In fact, any Beatles song would be an excellent choice if you’re auditioning for a pop singing competition or a band. Lots of baritones would love to be able to sing these songs in their original keys, but lucky for you: you can!
2. “Thinking Out Loud” – Ed Sheeran
Looking for more modern tenor songs? Check out Ed Sheeran’s music for some great ideas of tenor pop songs. “Thinking Out Loud” is a well-loved, moderate-tempo song that can work for a variety of auditions, shows, or events. It’s definitely a crowd pleaser if you can hit the notes just right.
3. “Something’s Coming” – West Side Story
There are just as many tenor musical theatre songs, and it can be very hard to narrow down your selection! However, “Something’s Coming” from “West Side Story” is always a good choice, as it truly shows off a performer’s musicality, range, AND acting skills.
Remember that a good audition goes beyond vocal technique. The audition panels want to see that you are confident and know what you are singing about, too.
SEE ALSO: 400+ Songs to Sing for Every Occasion
4. “Passeggiata” – The Light in the Piazza
For more current tenor musical theatre songs, check out “Passeggiata” from “The Light in the Piazza.” It’s a graceful number for a young singer learning how to sing tenor parts. A classically trained tenor wanting to “crossover” into musical theatre could easily pull this off, but so could a more pop-ish tenor.
5. “Una Furtiva Lacrima” – Elixir of Love
When we think “tenor songs” in the opera genre we usually think of powerful, ringing high notes in heroic sounding arias. “Una Furtiva Lacrima” is a gorgeous aria from Donizetti’s “Elixir of Love.” This is suitable for a first aria for young lyric tenors.
Not only will it show off your understanding of “bel canto,” but it’s another opportunity to demonstrate your acting skills. The performer is pining for his love here! (No surprise – this IS opera, after all).
6. “Nessun Dorma” – Turandot
Another one of the best tenor audition songs for operas is “Nessun Dorma” from “Turandot.” Note: this aria is ONLY to be attempted by tenors who have been studying seriously for a long time.
This is a heavier aria by Puccini that requires impeccable technique. This aria is a real crowd pleaser that will get the audience on their feet if you can really nail those high Cs.
What Are Good Songs to Sing for a Musical Audition?
When you’re auditioning for musical theater, you can technically use any kind of music, depending on what the audition committee is looking for. That said, the best tenor songs for musical theater might not be the best tenor karaoke songs. You need to be specific!
If you’re not sure where to start in your search, some great tenor musical theater songs include:
- “And I Breathe” – Next Thing You Know
- “Beethoven Day” – You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown
- “Cold Feet” – The Drowsy Chaperone
- “Daffodils” – Big Fish
- “Don’t Do Sadness” – Spring Awakening
- “Endless Night” – The Lion King
- “Epic III” – Hadestown
- “Fifty Million Years Ago” – Celebration
- “Freeze Your Brain” – Heathers
- “Gonna Build a Wall” – Shrek the Musical
- “Goodbye” – Catch Me If You Can
- “Wait for Me” – Hadestown
- “Where In the World” – The Secret Garden
- “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught” – South Pacific
What Songs Can a Tenor Song?
Technically, a tenor can sing any song that comes to mind. However, some songs are better suited to the high, small range of a tenor’s voice than others. The tenor songs listed above are a great place to start as you begin your search for the perfect tune.
You’re one step closer to your next audition with these top tenor songs! Keep in mind that the most important resource for learning how to develop and perfect your sound is a voice teacher.
An experienced vocal coach can assess if you’re ready for any of these tenor audition songs, and prepare you for the audition panels. Good luck, and break a leg!
Molly R. teaches online and in-person singing lessons in Hayward, CA. Her specialties include teaching beginner vocalists, shy singers, children, teens, lapsed singers, and older beginners. She joined TakeLessons in November 2013. Learn more about Molly here!
Photo by Barbara Müller-Walter