Definition of alto in English:
noun (plural altos)
1(Especially in church music) the highest adult male singing voice (sometimes distinguished from the countertenor voice as using falsetto).
- Linwood sings male alto as well as soprano but he also has an additional, very attractive qualification: a Masters degree in Romance Languages and Linguistics from Harvard University.
- In the latter part of the 20th century the male alto voice became closely associated with the revival of Baroque opera, especially the works of Handel.
- The opposing sides in this duologue are represented by two female soprano voices portraying Beauty and Pleasure, and by two male altos, probably super - rather than sub-human castrati, who signify Time and Disillusion.
1.1The lowest female singing voice; contralto.
- The music was fun and in that situation I liked singing soprano better than singing alto, although I do love the inner harmonies, too.
- This she held out before her now with both hands as one does with an offering and, after another silent pause, she began to sing in a clear alto, the song of her own making, which Forest around seemed to understand, listening intently.
- The older is a soprano but people tend to make her sing alto.
1.2A person with an alto voice.
- As the main emphasis of the courses lies in the choir made up of all participants, space is limited to approximately twenty sopranos, twelve altos and counter-tenors, and sixteen basses.
- The society is currently looking for tenors basses, altos and sopranos to join the adult choir.
- She was an alto trying to sing soprano and missing.
1.3A part written for an alto voice.
- There is an overdependence on unison writing between the alto and bass, and most of the drum lines are unimaginative and monotonous.
- Soprano, alto, tenor and bass parts are all ascribed to him.
- The soprano melody above it has been heard several times by this point in the piece, yet it sounds unnatural to ignore it completely in favor of the alto, a newly added contrapuntal element.
2 [as modifier] Denoting the member of a family of instruments pitched second or third highest: alto flute
More example sentences
- On the positive side, there is Shore's scrupulous instrumental characterisation, with a troubling French horn and a pure alto flute representing the moral struggle within the mysterious main character.
- The three smaller works are a duo for cello and piano, Six Days in Jericho, a duo for alto flute and piano, Spilliaert's Beach, and a piano solo, A Haunted Heart.
- All the pieces I receive are put onto our waiting lists for performances, and we have an open call for scores for any chamber works using the alto or bass flute.
2.1An alto saxophone.
- I put it in the bank until I saved up another £210 and bought a lovely alto saxophone.
- His alto saxophone exerted a powerful influence on early free jazz in Britain, if not across Europe.
- He was primarily self-taught beginning on trumpet before switching to alto sax.
Late 16th century: from Italian alto (canto) 'high (song)'.
- Example sentences
- Despite his very erratic lifestyle, altoist Art Pepper never made a bad record.
- However the altoist's playing makes the project quite worthwhile.
- At the time of this recording (a double CD), the classic altoist was already age 84, yet showed no signs of slowing down either his playing or his writing schedule.
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