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Voices for choir singers
Female voices Male voices
Range of a choral soprano
Soprano (S)
Range of a choir tenor
Tenor (T)
Range of a choral mezzo-soprano
Range of a choir baritone
Range of a choir alto
Alt (A)
Range of a choir bass
Bass (B)
The Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballé as Semiramide (1980)

The soprano (since the 18th century from Italian soprano , as 'upper voice' in the 16th century originated from Italian sopra '(dar) over'; plural the sopranos , in Switzerland also the sopranos ) is the highest human voice and is in the great majority of cases sung by women. But it can also be sung by boys who have broken their voices (boy soprano) or by men in falsetto . In addition, the soprano voice was also occupied by castrati in past centuries . There are only a few "natural castrati". In the Renaissance and Baroque periods , the soprano system was also known as the cantus or treble in the vocal and instrumental areas .

A singer or a singer of this pitch is soprano or soprano or simply soprano known.

The pitch range of the soprano voice usually ranges from c 'to a' ', but much higher notes are possible for professional singers.

Singing subjects

Some specialized singing subjects for the soprano that have emerged since the 19th century are:

Pitch of the different voices

Boy soprano

A boy soprano is the pitch that corresponds to the soprano but is sung by a boy before the voice breaks . (A lower boy's voice is the boy's alto .) Boy's voices traditionally sing the high voices in boys' choirs .

Typical roles for boy soprano are for example:

Important boy sopranos were:

Male soprano

For several centuries attempts were made to preserve the boy's voices of good singers by castration . The castrati thus created could train their voices even further and had a larger lung volume than boys. However, this method is no longer practiced today.

Today there are a few "natural castrati". This can have hormonal causes, such as with the soprano Radu Marian . With Jimmy Scott , the hormonal cause is based on a genetic defect. Circumstances like those of Michael Maniaci are even rarer . His voice never broke either , but for unknown reasons only the larynx and the vocal cords did not develop as usual. Compared to other singers, they are limited in the lower pitches. Thanks to the normal chest voice used, you can also sing soft parts against counter tenors.

Men who are able to sing sopranos after their voices break are usually referred to as countertenors , sometimes also as sopranos or male sopranos. They mostly work by using the head voice or the falsetto technique, which, however, creates a different sound than a boy's voice. Singers like Angelo Manzotti have developed their own technique without falsetto, which leads to a clearer voice. These types of singers have quite a large vocal range. With Arno Raunig it is over three and a half octaves, with Edson Cordeiro even four octaves. The latter reaches a tone that is one step higher than Mozart's Queen of the Night in the opera The Magic Flute .

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: Soprano  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Soprano Singer  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Friedrich Kluge , Alfred Götze : Etymological dictionary of the German language . 20th ed., Ed. by Walther Mitzka , De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 1967; Reprint (“21st unchanged edition”) ibid 1975, ISBN 3-11-005709-3 , p. 717.
  2. An Interview With Michael Maniaci ,, April 12, 2005 (English)
  3. Michael Maniaci talks about his voice - excerpt from a broadcast by BBC four ( YouTube video, available since February 29, 2008)