tes·​si·​tu·​ra ˌte-sə-ˈtu̇r-ə How to pronounce tessitura (audio)
: the general range of a melody or voice part
specifically : the part of the register in which most of the tones of a melody or voice part lie

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The fast-ascendant baritone Jarrett Ott, as Seward, mastered a demanding tessitura and vividly conveyed the character’s arrogance and agony. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 9 Aug. 2021 Kathleen Kim’s soprano sparkled in Josephine’s high tessitura; bass-baritone Wayne Tigges was appropriately brutal as Sgt. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, 12 June 2018 Maxim Mironov proves capable of handling the high tenor tessitura while suavely sashaying with his scarf. Mark Swed, latimes.com, 13 Mar. 2018 In the premiere of this work, Cycles of My Being by composer Tyshawn Sorey and poet Terrance Hayes, Brownlee repurposed his remarkably solid middle-high tessitura to angst-ridden ends. Peter Dobrin, Philly.com, 21 Feb. 2018 Hye Jung Lee carried off the high tessitura of Ah Sing, Paul Appleby was a buoyantly brutal Joe, Elliot Madore’s Ramón was best in his romantic duet with Josefa. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, 4 Dec. 2017 The dearth of tenors capable of doing justice to the murderously high tessitura of Orphee, a role written for high French tenor (haut-contre), helps to explain why the Paris version of Gluck’s masterpiece is seldom performed. John Von Rhein, chicagotribune.com, 24 Sep. 2017 See More

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

Word History


Italian, literally, texture, from Latin textura

First Known Use

1875, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tessitura was in 1875

Dictionary Entries Near tessitura

Cite this Entry

“Tessitura.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tessitura. Accessed 26 Nov. 2022.

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