countertenor

2 ENTRIES FOUND:

coun·ter·ten·or

noun \-ˌte-nər\

Definition of COUNTERTENOR

:  a tenor with an unusually high range (as an alto range)

Origin of COUNTERTENOR

Middle English countretenour part balancing the tenor, from Middle French contreteneur, from contre- + teneur tenor
First Known Use: 15th century

Rhymes with COUNTERTENOR

countertenor

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Adult male alto voice, either natural or falsetto. Some writers use the term only for the natural high tenor, preferring “male alto” for the falsetto voice. Like the castrato tradition, the countertenor developed as a result of the prohibition on women taking part in church choirs. Since the falsetto voice lacks power, it was little used in opera. The countertenor tradition was preserved in the English cathedral choir. Today it is again being widely cultivated internationally, primarily for Renaissance and Baroque music.

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