American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Music The lowest female voice or voice part, intermediate in range between soprano and tenor.
- n. Music A woman having a contralto voice.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In modern music, the voice intermediate in quality and range between soprano and tenor, having a usual compass of about two octaves upward from the F below middle C; the lowest of the varieties of the female voice. In medieval music, in which the melody was either in a middle voice or passed from one voice to another, and which utilized only male singers, the upper voice was naturally called
altus. As music for mixed voices developed, that female voice which was nearest the altus, and thus most contrasted with it, was called contr'alto. Also alto.
- n. A singer with a contralto voice.
- Pertaining to, or possessed of the quality of, a contralto: as, a contralto voice.
- n. music The lowest female voice or voice part, higher than tenor and lower than soprano. The terms contralto and alto refer to a similar musical pitch, but among singers, the term contralto is reserved for female singers; the equivalent male form is counter-tenor. Originally the contratenor altus was a high countermelody sung against the tenor or main melody.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. The part sung by the highest male or lowest female voices; the alto or counter tenor.
- n. the voice or singer performing this part.
- adj. (Mus.) Of or pertaining to a contralto, or to the part in music called contralto.
- adj. of or being the lowest female voice
- n. the lowest female singing voice
- n. a woman singer having a contralto voice
- Contraction of contratenor alto, from Latin contratenor altus. (Wiktionary)
- Italian : contra-, below (from Latin contrā-, contra-) + alto, alto; see alto. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“But the title-rôle in the original Italian version was written for, and sung by, Guadagni, an artificial contralto (_contralto musico_).”
“Her majestic contralto is heard in concert halls and opera houses around the world and we were lucky today to have her give us a sample with "0 Canada".”
“Joscelyn Burnett, the famous contralto, is spending a few days in Kensington on her return from her Maritime concert tour.”
“She has more knowledge of the theatre, more science, taste, and energy, than any of them; but her voice, a soft contralto, is out of use and feeble.”
“She remembered her voice that had been called a contralto, low and deep; and how she used to sing the simple songs she knew.”
“The mistake was not as absurd as it may seem, for it is a fact that the voice which is called a contralto, if it is a good and clear and fairly resonant voice, sounds at a distance very much indeed like a 'cello or the lower register of a violin.”
“It was a madrigal this time, airy and changing, and sung by four men, one of whom had a beautiful male contralto, which is a rarity even in Italy.”
“One of the recurring themes was the large contingent of "Midwest Mafia Merolini" centering in Iowa, such as contralto Suzanne Hendrix above...”
“Oh, father, father!' she says, kind of contralto, 'can this be true?”
“He was an artist through and through, possessing a sweet nor yet an uncultivated voice -- a blend between a low tenor and a high baritone -- I was almost about to write a "contralto," it was so soft and liquid.”
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a list of pretentious words i have used or hope to use when discussing operas because they make me feel like i am considerably more knowledgeable about opera than i actually am.
against or opposite; below or beyond
Words culled from Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.
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Words compiled while reading Lolita
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