alto

noun
al·​to | \ ˈal-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce alto (audio) , ˈȯl- \
plural altos

Definition of alto

 (Entry 1 of 2)

2 : the second highest voice part in a 4-part chorus
3 : a member of a family of instruments having a range lower than that of the treble or soprano especially : an alto saxophone

alto

adjective

Definition of alto (Entry 2 of 2)

: relating to or having the range or part of an alto

Examples of alto in a Sentence

Noun She sang in her school choir as an alto. Adjective He plays the alto sax.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The band includes Corey Hutchins, tap dance percussion; Jocelyn Pleasant, drums; Mike Carabello, piano; Matt Dwonszyk, bass; and Dakota Austin, alto saxophone. courant.com, 21 May 2021 Like musicians everywhere who were stuck off the road, staring into the abyss of their bank accounts, Shah — whose dark alto and eclectic songs have brought her critical acclaim and a niche following — began to examine her livelihood as an artist. New York Times, 7 May 2021 The passenger-side clown, with a wide, crooked smile and a shock of red hair, blows hard on an alto saxophone, his long, skinny fingers maneuvering with the agility of Krusty tying balloon animals. Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times, 24 Mar. 2021 Mezzo-soprano Dianna Grabowski performed the alto part with a rich low register that explored a range of colors. Tim Diovanni, Dallas News, 16 Mar. 2021 With blistering speed and endless ideas, alto saxophonist Parker helped create bebop, which transformed jazz from danceable music to a more cerebral art form. USA Today, 22 Feb. 2021 Such inclination was evident in the sound of his alto saxophone (at the time, a white plastic one)—bold yet fragile, almost unbearably human, unlike anything else in modern music. Larry Blumenfeld, WSJ, 18 Dec. 2020 Tune in for a New Year’s Day live-streamed concert by Triple Threat Brass — a group featuring Jordan Hendrick on alto saxophone, Brandon Midgette on trombone, Cyrus Mackey on trumpet, Lowrider James on tuba and Devron Dennis on drums. Angela Roberts, baltimoresun.com, 31 Dec. 2020 While stationed in Paris, Allen performed with the likes of pianist Art Simmons, saxophonist Don Byas and alto reedist James Moody. Washington Post, 30 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Lee Konitz, 92, was an alto saxophonist who was an innovative figure in jazz for more than 70 years. Washington Post, 24 Apr. 2020 Kristen Dubenion-Smith possesses a lyric-mezzo of uncommon beauty, her flickering vibrato and the amber cast of her tone making something special out of the alto arias. Joe Banno, Washington Post, 23 Dec. 2019 At sunset, a mix of alto cirrus with mare�s tails and cumulus provide a backdrop to pristine Forester Lake at 10, 240 feet, nestled in the Great Western Divide. Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle, 28 May 2018 And my uncle is an alto saxophonist named Donald Harrison Jr. who is a legendary figure in creative improvised music, or jazz music. Vann R. Newkirk Ii, The Atlantic, 12 Mar. 2020 Her strong alto voice was a good fit for the song, and the montage was only undercut by the ever-tacky clapping caught on the mic for some of the late artists and not others. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, 10 Feb. 2020 The alto saxophonist Mthunzi Mvubu is also deeply in the mix, often entwined with Mr. Hutchings’s lines. Giovanni Russonello, New York Times, 11 Mar. 2020 Tenor Rodrick Dixon, soprano Alfreda Burke and alto Karen Marie Richardson are the soloists. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Detroit Opera House. Greg Crawford, Detroit Free Press, 11 Dec. 2019 They were joined by pianist Michael Carabello and alto saxophonist Konrad Dziemian. Susan Dunne, courant.com, 26 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alto.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of alto

Noun

1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

circa 1724, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for alto

Noun

Italian, literally, high, from Latin altus

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Statistics for alto

Last Updated

27 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Alto.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/alto. Accessed 16 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for alto

alto

noun

English Language Learners Definition of alto

 (Entry 1 of 2)

music : a singing voice that is lower than the voice of a soprano and higher than the voice of a tenor also : a singer having such a voice

alto

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of alto (Entry 2 of 2)

: having a range that is lower than a soprano and higher than a tenor

alto

noun
al·​to | \ ˈal-tō How to pronounce alto (audio) \
plural altos

Kids Definition of alto

1 : the lowest female singing voice
2 : the second highest part in harmony that has four parts
3 : a singer or an instrument having an alto range or part

More from Merriam-Webster on alto

Nglish: Translation of alto for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about alto

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