views updated Jun 08 2018

al·to / ˈaltō/ • n. (pl. -tos) Mus. a voice, instrument, or part below the highest range and above tenor, in particular: ∎  the highest adult male singing voice; countertenor. ∎  the lowest female singing voice; contralto. ∎  [as adj.] denoting the member of a family of instruments pitched second or third highest: alto flute. ∎  an alto instrument, esp. an alto saxophone.


views updated May 21 2018

alto In singing, the highest male voice, also called countertenor; or the lowest female voice, also called contralto. It is also used to describe that member of a family of instruments with a range that corresponds to the alto voice; for example, an alto flute is a fourth lower than a standard one.


views updated May 29 2018

alto (It.). High.
1. Usually high type of falsetto male v., much used in Eng. church mus.; thus in SATB, A stands for alto.

2. Low-register female v., usually referred to as contralto.

3. Applied to instr., the 2nd or 3rd highest of the family.

4. (Fr.). Viola.


views updated Jun 27 2018

alto highest male voice, counter-tenor. XVII. — It. alto high — L. altus.