contralto

noun

con·​tral·​to kən-ˈtral-(ˌ)tō How to pronounce contralto (audio)
plural contraltos
1
a
: a singing voice having a range between tenor and mezzo-soprano
b
: a person having this voice
2
: the part sung by a contralto

Examples of contralto in a Sentence

a duet performed by a soprano and a contralto
Recent Examples on the Web The home of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, will be renamed in honor of the pioneering Black contralto, according to The Associated Press. Melissa Noel, Essence, 29 Feb. 2024 Some layered Robinson’s singing with Olayiwola’s spoken poetry, delivered in a deep contralto that melded naturally into the texture of the score, as performed by the soprano and a string quartet from Castle of Our Skins. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 19 June 2023 The beauty of the songs is enhanced by Herrera’s lovely and expressive contralto. Beth Wood, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 May 2023 Back in the early 1900s, British contralto and recording artist Ruby Helder expressed a desire to sing operatic tenor roles. San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Feb. 2023 Megan Esther Grey, a doctoral student with a performance career already underway, blended the best of both mezzo and contralto voices in red-hot contributions as Iago’s wife, Emilia. Dallas News, 28 Feb. 2022 Her voice, obviously — that lush, elegant, deep contralto is slightly raspy after 82 years but still instantly recognizable. Dionne Warwick, Vulture, 28 Dec. 2022 For her stunningly powerful contralto voice and magnificent presence that, as a youngster, influenced my music appreciation. Dallas News, 1 Mar. 2022 Her contralto voice — creamy and rich like a spoonful of gelato — summons the intense feelings of adolescence through its calm yet fomenting presence. Erin Osmon, Los Angeles Times, 1 Dec. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'contralto.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Italian, from contra- + alto

First Known Use

1740, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of contralto was in 1740

Dictionary Entries Near contralto

Cite this Entry

“Contralto.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/contralto. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

contralto

noun
con·​tral·​to kən-ˈtral-tō How to pronounce contralto (audio)
plural contraltos
1
a
: the lowest female singing voice
b
: a singer with such a voice
2
: the part sung by a contralto
Etymology

from Italian contralto "lowest female singing voice," from contra- "having a lower pitch than" and alto "a female singing voice"

More from Merriam-Webster on contralto

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