• WordNet 3.6
    • adj contralto of or being the lowest female voice
    • n contralto the lowest female singing voice
    • n contralto a woman singer having a contralto voice
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • a Contralto (Mus) Of or pertaining to a contralto, or to the part in music called contralto; as, a contralto voice.
    • n Contralto (Mus) The part sung by the highest male or lowest female voices; the alto or counter tenor.☞ The usual range of the contralto voice is from G, below middle C, to the C above that; though exceptionally it embraces two octaves.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n contralto In modern music, the voice intermediate in quality and range between soprano and tenor, having a usual compass of about two octaves upward from the F below middle C; the lowest of the varieties of the female voice. In medieval music, in which the melody was either in a middle voice or passed from one voice to another, and which utilized only male singers, the upper voice was naturally called altus. As music for mixed voices developed, that female voice which was nearest the altus, and thus most contrasted with it, was called contr'alto. Also alto.
    • n contralto A singer with a contralto voice.
    • contralto Pertaining to, or possessed of the quality of, a contralto: as, a contralto voice.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Contralto kon-tral′tō the deepest or lowest species of musical voice in boys, in eunuchs, and best of all in women.
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
It., fr. contra, + alto,. See Alto
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
See Alto and Counter (1).


In literature:

Contralto is a subdivision of alto, mezzo-soprano of soprano; and soprano itself may be dramatic or florid.
"The Voice" by Frank E. Miller
The other woman was a gray-haired lady of about fifty with fine features and a rich contralto voice.
"The Mighty Dead" by William Campbell Gault
A silent compact, silently entered into, for before a word was interchanged the animated contralto of the lady came down from above.
"The House of Fulfilment" by George Madden Martin
Teresina's rich, exquisitely beautiful contralto stirred the depths of my soul.
"The Serapion Brethren," by Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann
I thought of it as a richly sweet contralto.
"The Portal of Dreams" by Charles Neville Buck
Of course, it's actually a low contralto or tenor, but you expect her to be a lyric soprano.
"The Romantic Analogue" by W.W. Skupeldyckle
The work is divided into thirteen numbers, the solo parts being Iolanthe (soprano), Martha (mezzo-soprano), and Beatrice (contralto).
"The Standard Cantatas" by George P. Upton
This was the first intimation we had of Conny's powerful and sympathetic contralto voice.
"Waldfried" by Berthold Auerbach
I'd like it to be a contralto.
"Helen Grant's Schooldays" by Amanda M. Douglas
Hedwig had a beautiful contralto voice, and Thaddie sang a good accompaniment.
"Black Forest Village Stories" by Berthold Auerbach

In poetry:

Tomorrow we will hear on the gramophone
The music of the Spheres, registered H.M.V.
By a divorced contralto: we shall perhaps
Meet Adam under glass in a museum
Fleshless and most unlovely, complete with pedigree.
"Progression" by Francis Scarfe

In news:

Ewa Podles, the Polish contralto with a three-octave range and a cult following, has appeared in Washington with some regularity over the years, thanks to the Vocal Arts Society.
The English contralto Kathleen Ferrier had a voice like no other.
Ewa Podles, contralto, and Garrick Ohlsson, pianist.
The phrase "keeping it real" and all that it suggests certainly applies to Baby Jane Dexter, a longtime cabaret performer whose booming pop contralto is one of the more formidable voices on the New York nightclub stage.
The Canadian contralto's Schumann album includes 25 songs, including two complete song cycles.