Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Italian plural of soprano.
“The poor sometimes sold their children for this purpose, and the castrati and soprani are terms well known to the musical historian.”
“Tolerable baritones have been transformed into very mediocre tenors, capable mezzo-soprani into very indifferent dramatic soprani, and so on.”
“Now and then, when listening to the soprani of some well-trained boy-choir, sounding soft and mellow on the lower notes and ringing clear and flutey on the higher, it may have dimly occurred to the teacher of public school music that there might be things as yet unheard of in his musical philosophy, a vague wonder and dissatisfaction, which has slowly disappeared under the pressure of routine work.”
“Banditti, in place of bandits, would seem an affectation to an American, and so would soprani for sopranos and soli for solos, but the last two, at least, are common in England.”
“After the year 1441 the records no longer mention the presence of boys in the choir, the high voices, soprano and alto, being thenceforth sung by natural (and occasionally unnatural) soprani falsetti and high tenors respectively.”
“With devout insistence the theme is reiterated by the two soprani, then the voices are woven together, and the simile that rose up in her mind was the pious image of fingers interlaced in prayer.”
“The masterly way in which he differentiates the natures of his three soprani -- Anna, a type of noble purity; Elvira, a loving and long-suffering woman, alternating between jealous indignation and voluptuous tenderness; and Zerlina, a model of rustic coquetry -- may especially be remarked, but all the characters are treated with the same profound knowledge of life and human nature.”
“On November 13, 1885, he heard in the church and for the first time, the Florentine's Second Requiem in D minor, for male voices; and thought it beautiful and devotional, and in no way lacking in effect through the absence of _soprani_ and _contralti_, which he had not missed.”
“And after a pause, the organ, aided by two double-basses, bellowed out, carrying all the voices in its torrent -- baritones, tenors, basses, not now serving only as sheaths to the sharp blades of the urchin voices, but openly with full throated sound -- yet the dash of the little soprani pierced them through all at once like a crystal arrow.”
“It seems easy to realise what they wrote about the dishevelled gaiety and lawless license of Chioggia in the days of powder, sword-knot, and _soprani_.”
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