Knowledge and skills

The ability of the four singers comprising an “a tenore” group are different. Each part has a specific role which needs particular knowledge and skills.

As far as linguistic knowledge is concerned, the knowledge of Sardinian is, generally speaking, something that every singers have. In the case of the boghe, this is due to the fact that all texts are in Sardinian (only exceptionally and for fun one may sing in Italian or other languages), but Sardinian is the ordinary means through which communication, discussion and instructions takes places in the contexts where a tenore singing is learned and practiced.

While a passive knowledge of the linguistic koinè of northern Sardinia (the Logudorese variety of Sardinian) is common in the majority of the people living in the area in which the a tenore song is practiced (the central and northern part of the island), a boghe should be able to sing the poetical text in logudorese without the phonetic features of his local variety. Therefore, a perfect command of the texts sung is needed.

Particularly in some villages, as Orgosolo, the value of the text (and, as a consequence, a good command of many poetical texts) is considered one of the most important skill for a good boghe. While the perfect knowledge of the village repertoire is essential for every professional singers, a knowledge of the most renowned songs of other villages and/or of the most famous singers is considered a sign of the mastery of an expert singer and is usually a part of the learning process of the singers.

According to many a tenore singers, the boghe should be not only a soloist but also a person with leading capacity in the group. He must be able to lead the choir, to take decisions as for the text to sing, the pitch and the time of the performance, etc.

The ability to make variations and/or to improvise is considered important. This is also the case for the mesu boghes and – in some villages and to a lower extent – for the contras. The singers who comprise the choir of accompaniment must be well synchronized and have the ability to stay in time with the soloist and with the other accompanists, by an accurate and proficient listening of what the other singers do.