Help Wordnik hunt for a million missing words by backing our Kickstarter!


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The prevailing range of a vocal or instrumental part, within which most of the tones lie.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The vocal range of a singer.
  • n. how a musical instrument sounds in different parts of its range

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In music, of a melody or a voice-part, that part of its total compass in which the greater number of its tones lie.


Italian, from Latin textūra, web, structure; see texture.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Italian tessitura. (Wiktionary)


  • We know that by the height of G.F. Handel's career, mezzo-sopranos and contraltos were finally recognized on the public stage, and music from that time on seems to fill the gap in tessitura (the general range within which the notes of a piece lie).

    Archive 2007-01-01

  • I don't think a lyric tenor is the best choice or the original intent for Das Buch, though a Heldentenor with the ability to deal with the high end of the tessitura might be a little hard to find these days.

    Another Buch

  • The role is no walk in the tenor park: it's written to be sung in the upper tessitura register.

    A Philadelphia Son Storms the Met

  • Some of the most expressive music is reserved for the cross-dressed Amastris, whose tessitura is so low that in the final ensemble it is she who takes the tenor line.

    George Heymont: Going For Baroque With Handel's Xerxes

  • Marisol Montalvo, the soprano who took it on, is another Eschenbach favorite, and with reason: She has the musical chops to bring off this difficult piece, and the tessitura to reach the stratosphere of the high notes, where the score kept her much of the time.

    The National Symphony Orchestra audience directs its attention to Eschenbach

  • Tenor Robert Brubaker handled Mao's high tessitura impeccably, creating an indelible image of a ruthless, wily fighter, despite his age and decrepitude.

    Titans Shaking Hands, But Still Worlds Apart

  • "It's the snarling tessitura, the free-revving elasticity, and of course the big butt-whacks of torque that hit you in first through fourth as you stir the gears to 7,500 rpm redline."

    A Boss on the Road

  • It's not simply the 32-horsepower difference in output; it's the snarling tessitura, the free-revving elasticity, and of course the big butt-whacks of torque that hit you in first through fourth as you stir the gears to 7,500 rpm redline.

    A Boss on the Road With a Peon's Interior

  • This collection of tessituras yields a total vocal tessitura of approximately 3 octaves achievable by the range of human voices.

    Jean-Jacques Rousseau: champion of among other things, mezzos!

  • Pl á cido said the same thing, that he has to work hard to sing the tessitura.

    The Forthright Tenor


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Jack Benny's comedic tessitura
    Was marked by mastery of caesura.
    His persona was slick,
    His repartee quick
    But his silences truly bravura.

    September 16, 2014

  • Or, a whiz-bang, super-duper database, developed by the New York Metropolitan Opera House to manage ticketing, customer relations and philanthropic giving.

    September 1, 2008

  • The range of notes that compromises most of the vocal part of a song.

    February 2, 2008