Contralto

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A contralto (Italian pronunciation: [konˈtralto) is a type of classical female singing voice whose vocal range is the lowest female voice type. Contralto_sentence_0

The contralto's vocal range is fairly rare; similar to the mezzo-soprano, and almost identical to that of a countertenor, typically between the F below middle C (F3 in scientific pitch notation) to the second F above middle C (F5), although, at the extremes, some voices can reach the D below middle C (D3) or the second B♭ above middle C (B♭5). Contralto_sentence_1

The contralto voice type is generally divided into the coloratura, lyric, and dramatic contralto. Contralto_sentence_2

History Contralto_section_0

"Contralto" is primarily meaningful only in reference to classical and operatic singing, as other traditions lack a comparable system of vocal categorization. Contralto_sentence_3

The term "contralto" is only applied to female singers; men singing in a similar range are called "countertenors". Contralto_sentence_4

The Italian terms "contralto" and "alto" are not synonymous, "alto" technically denoting a specific vocal range in choral singing without regard to factors like tessitura, vocal timbre, vocal facility, and vocal weight. Contralto_sentence_5

However, there exists some French choral writing (including that of Ravel and Poulenc) with a part labeled "contralto", despite the tessitura and function being that of a classical alto part. Contralto_sentence_6

The Saracen princess Clorinde in André Campra's 1702 opera Tancrède was written for Julie d'Aubigny and is considered the earliest major role for bas-dessus or contralto voice. Contralto_sentence_7

Vocal range Contralto_section_1

The contralto has the lowest vocal range of the female voice types, with the lowest tessitura. Contralto_sentence_8

The contralto vocal range is between tenor and mezzo-soprano. Contralto_sentence_9

Although tenors, baritones, and basses are male singers, some women can sing as low (albeit with a slightly different timbre and texture) as their male counterparts. Contralto_sentence_10

Some of the rare singers who specialized in the tenor and baritone registers include film actress Zarah Leander, the Persian āvāz singer Hayedeh, the child prodigy Ruby Helder (1890–1938), and Bavarian novelty singer Bally Prell. Contralto_sentence_11

Subtypes and roles in opera Contralto_section_2

Within the contralto voice type category are three generally recognized subcategories: coloratura contralto, an agile voice specializing in florid passages; lyric contralto, a voice lighter in timbre; and dramatic contralto, the deepest, darkest, and most powerful contralto voice. Contralto_sentence_12

These subtypes do not always apply with precision to individual singers. Contralto_sentence_13

True operatic contraltos are rare, and the operatic literature contains few roles written specifically for them. Contralto_sentence_14

Contraltos sometimes are assigned feminine roles like Teodata in Flavio, Angelina in La Cenerentola, Rosina in The Barber of Seville, Isabella in L'italiana in Algeri, and Olga in Eugene Onegin, but more frequently they play female villains or trouser roles. Contralto_sentence_15

Contraltos may also be cast in roles originally written for castrati. Contralto_sentence_16

A common saying among contraltos is that they may play only "witches, bitches, or ." Contralto_sentence_17

Examples of contralto roles in the standard operatic repertoire include the following: Contralto_sentence_18

indicates a role that may also be sung by a mezzo-soprano. Contralto_sentence_19

See also Contralto_section_3

Contralto_unordered_list_0


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contralto.