Adjective "alto" definition and examples

(Alto may not be an adjective, but it can be used as an adjective, click here to find out.)



Definitions and examples


(especially in church music) the highest adult male singing voice (sometimes distinguished from the countertenor voice as using falsetto).
  1. 'The opposing sides in this duologue are represented by two female soprano voices portraying Beauty and Pleasure, and by two male altos, probably super - rather than sub-human castrati, who signify Time and Disillusion.'
  2. 'In the latter part of the 20th century the male alto voice became closely associated with the revival of Baroque opera, especially the works of Handel.'
  3. 'Her voice trembled, rising from her normal alto to a shivery soprano.'
  4. 'This she held out before her now with both hands as one does with an offering and, after another silent pause, she began to sing in a clear alto, the song of her own making, which Forest around seemed to understand, listening intently.'
  5. 'The music was fun and in that situation I liked singing soprano better than singing alto, although I do love the inner harmonies, too.'
  6. 'A lot of people have said that we do have similar singing voices, although in fact I'm a mezzo soprano and Sandy is an alto.'
  7. 'The society is currently looking for tenors basses, altos and sopranos to join the adult choir.'
  8. 'There is an overdependence on unison writing between the alto and bass, and most of the drum lines are unimaginative and monotonous.'
  9. 'Soprano, alto, tenor and bass parts are all ascribed to him.'
Denoting the member of a family of instruments pitched second or third highest.
  1. 'The three smaller works are a duo for cello and piano, Six Days in Jericho, a duo for alto flute and piano, Spilliaert's Beach, and a piano solo, A Haunted Heart.'
  2. 'All the pieces I receive are put onto our waiting lists for performances, and we have an open call for scores for any chamber works using the alto or bass flute.'
  3. 'Nothing so simple for the oboes as piccolo, soprano, alto, tenor or bass.'
  4. 'I headed to the end of the hall, where all the saxophones had congregated, and saw three out of the four different types of saxophones; the baritone, tenor and alto.'
  5. 'I put it in the bank until I saved up another £210 and bought a lovely alto saxophone.'

More definitions

1. the lowest female voice; contralto.

2. the highest male voice; countertenor.

3. a singer with such a voice.

4. a musical part for such a voice.

5. the second highest of the four parts of a mixed vocal chorus, or the voices or persons singing this part.

6. the second highest instrument in a family of musical instruments, as the viola in the violin family or the althorn in the cornet family. adjective

7. of, relating to, or having the tonal range of the alto.

More examples(as adjective)

"clefs can be alto."

"regions can be alto."

"voices can be alto."

"saxophonists can be alto."

"players can be alto."

More examples++


Late 16th century: from Italian alto (canto) ‘high (song)’.