coun·​ter·​ten·​or | \ ˈkau̇n-tər-ˌte-nər How to pronounce countertenor (audio) \

Definition of countertenor

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

Examples of countertenor in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web To soprano Molly Netter, countertenor Daniel Moody, tenor Steven Soph, and baritone Jesse Blumberg fell the roles of Herod, Angel, and the Evangelist, and all solo arias sung from an anonymous perspective. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, "Apollo’s Fire makes vibrant case for Bach’s Christmas Oratorio in holiday canon," 17 Dec. 2019 Costanzo’s clear, light countertenor emphasizes the profound serenity with which Akhnaten encounters his god. Mary Spencer, National Review, "Philip Glass’s Akhnaten Brings Ancient Egyptian Piety to Life," 14 Dec. 2019 The four male voices are countertenor, tenor, baritone and bass; and the one female voice is a soprano. Mike Giuliano,, "German group Calmus to perform for Candlelight Concerts at Howard Community College," 12 Dec. 2019 The viol consort and the countertenor voice were once relics of the past. Washington Post, "Countertenor Iestyn Davies and Fretwork revive music old and new at Library of Congress," 17 Oct. 2019 The label's first release is Twilight People by German countertenor Andreas Scholl and Israeli pianist Tamar Halparin, out tomorrow (Nov 15). Richard Smirke, Billboard, "BMG Launches Modern Recordings, Its First New Label Since 2008 Relaunch," 14 Nov. 2019 FRETWORK The English viol consort stops in Boston on its American tour, joined by countertenor Iestyn Davies. Zoë Madonna,, "Boston’s 15 must-see classical music groups for fall," 5 Sep. 2019 It was originally created in 1985 to Henry Purcell songs for harpsichord, cello and countertenor. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Mark Morris Dance Group marries music and motion," 15 Aug. 2019 Daniels is also a countertenor with an extensive professional opera background. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, "U-M trying to out former grad student as gay, court filing claims," 31 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'countertenor.' 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 countertenor

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for countertenor

Middle English countretenour part balancing the tenor, from Middle French contreteneur, from contre- + teneur tenor

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The first known use of countertenor was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

5 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Countertenor.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 18 January 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on countertenor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with countertenor Encyclopedia article about countertenor

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