soprano

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soprano

[Ital.,=above], female voice of highest pitch. The three basic types of solo soprano are coloratura, lyric, and dramatic. The coloratura has a great range and impressive vocal agility; the lyric soprano has a light, pretty voice; and the dramatic soprano has a sustained power suitable for operatic roles. The voices of boys who have not reached puberty are generally in the soprano range and replace women's voices in some church choirs. In the castratocastrato
[Ital.,=castrated], a male singer with an artificially created soprano or alto voice, the result of castration in boyhood. The combination of the larynx of a youth and the chest and lungs of a man produced a powerful voice of great range and unique sound.
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 of the 18th cent. the quality of a boy's voice combined with the lung power of a man made for vocal powers of great brilliance (see eunucheunuch
[Gr.,=keeper of the couch], castrated human male, particularly a chamberlain of a harem in Asia. The custom of employing eunuchs as servants in wealthy or royal households is very ancient; it reached its epitome at the court of Constantinople under the Byzantine emperors,
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). The highest-pitched member of various families of instruments is termed soprano, e.g., soprano saxophone.

Soprano

 

(1) The highest singing voice. The range is from middle C to C two octaves above middle C, although some voices may have a higher compass ranging to D through F. A well-developed head register is a necessary quality for a soprano. Sopranos are usually women or children. In a chorus, the treble voices of boys sound especially pleasing. In the 16th through the 18th century, singing by castrati was quite common.

Three primary classifications of women sopranos exist: dramatic, lyric, and coloratura. There are also lyric-dramatic and lyric-coloratura sopranos. The dramatic soprano is distinguished by powerful sound over the entire range and a strong low register. The lyric soprano has a softness of timbre, flexibility, and great expressiveness in sustained melodies. The coloratura soprano is distinguished by agility in the execution of ornamentation and passage-work, transparency of timbre, and lightness and freedom of tone in the high register.

(2) The highest vocal category in a chorus.

(3) The high-register variants of some musical instruments.

soprano

1. the highest adult female voice, having a range approximately from middle C to the A a thirteenth above it
2. the voice of a young boy before puberty
3. a singer with such a voice
4. the highest part of a piece of harmony
5. 
a. the highest or second highest instrument in a family of instruments
b. (as modifier): a soprano saxophone
References in periodicals archive ?
As the great Wagnerian soprano Rita Hunter once said to me: "It's so disconcerting seeing all those faces pointing up to the ceiling instead of looking at you on the stage.
Cecilia Bartoli: The Passion of Song,'' by Kim Chernin with Renate Stendhal, is a work of diva-worship brought to the highest pitch of silliness, far surpassing such other classics of the genre as ``The Rainbow Bridge'' (1954), the unconsciously Sapphic ode to the art of the legendary Wagnerian soprano Olive Fremstad by her secretary Mary Watkins Cushing.
The rest of the programme brought the musicianly involvement of the great Wagnerian soprano Irene Theorin in substantial extracts from Tristan und Isolde and Gotterdammerung.
It played twice nightly, with its Dido - the great Norwegian Wagnerian soprano Kirsten Flagstad, no less - demanding nothing more than a pint of stout for each of her appearances (she also adored Gilbert and Sullivan, but that's another story).
She has been the Wagnerian soprano of choice on many major European stages, and some of the strain from all that heavy lifting is beginning to show.
The following occurs when one of the students, by now Dr Johannus Goddard and Europe's greatest modern philosopher, makes a Faustian pact in which in return for becoming a Nazi propagandist he gets a staggeringly beautiful Wagnerian soprano for his lover.
Both determined that he was a tenor, and suggested Sylvia Saurette, a former Wagnerian soprano, as his teacher.
Wagnerian soprano Deborah Voigt brings too big a voice to the often delicate patternings of the songs, diminishing their sense of quiet acceptance of the end of life, love and beauty.
And after her fateful meeting with Wieland Wagner in 1960 at Bayreuth and her subsequent assumption of dramatic Wagnerian soprano roles, her essentially lyric voice paid a heavy price.