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singing voice the range of which is lower than the soprano by the interval of a fifth. More generally, the term refers to the register in which this voice sings, i.e., the second highest part in a four-part musical texture, and to instruments utilizing this register. See countertenorcountertenor,
a male singing voice in the alto range. Singing in this range requires either a special vocal technique called falsetto, or a high extension of the tenor range.
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(graphic arts)
The negative which is electrodeposited during the preparation of plates for printing currency.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. the highest adult male voice; countertenor
2. (in choral singing) a shortened form of contralto
3. a singer with such a voice
4. another name for viola
5. a flute, saxophone, etc., that is the third or fourth highest instrument in its group
6. denoting a flute, saxophone, etc., that is the third or fourth highest instrument in its group
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(1) See Alto Mail.

(2) The desktop computer from Xerox that pioneered the mouse/icon/desktop environment. Developed at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in 1973, it was the progenitor of Xerox's Star and Apple's Lisa and Mac. At PARC, Lawrence Tesler and Tim Mott helped design the Alto's user interface, and Tesler later went to work for Apple.

Alto specs were 128K RAM, 2.5MB hard drive, 608x808 resolution and Ethernet. By 1979, about 1,000 units were in use. See Xerox Star, GUI and PARC.

Alto Computer
The first graphical user interface created for business was working more than a decade before the Mac debuted in 1984. (Image courtesy of Palo Alto Research Center.)
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