AskDefine | Define tessitura

User Contributed Dictionary





  • /tɛsɪ'tʊərə/


  1. the vocal range of a singer
    • 1995: Byrne shrugged. He started writing a bravura / Opera based on Cleopatra’s death, / Exploiting all Maria’s tessitura, / With a high F before her final breath. — Anthony Burgess, Byrne

Extensive Definition

In music, the term tessitura (Italian for texture) generally describes the most musically acceptable and comfortable timbre for a given voice or, less frequently, musical instrument; the range in which a given type of voice presents its best-sounding texture or timbre. This broad definition is often interpreted to refer specifically to the pitch range that most frequently occurs within a given piece, or part, of music. For example, throughout the entirety of Wagner's Ring, the music written for the role of Siegfried ranges from C#3 to C5, but the tessitura is described as high because the tenor phrases are most often in the range of C4 to A4.
In musical notation, tessitura is the range of notes implied by a clef.
Melodic contour may also be considered to be an important aspect of vocal tessitura.
The "tessitura" concept addresses not merely a range of pitches but as well the arrangement of those pitches. Tessitura considerations include these factors: proportion of sudden or gradual rises and falls in pitch - speed of pitch changes; the relative number of very high or low notes; whether lines and phrases of music in the piece tend to rise or fall – the muscular abilities of a singer may be more suited to one or the other direction.

See also

tessitura in Bulgarian: Теситура
tessitura in Spanish: Tesitura
tessitura in French: Tessiture
tessitura in Italian: Tessitura (musica)
tessitura in Japanese: テッシトゥーラ
tessitura in Polish: Tessitura
tessitura in Portuguese: Tessitura
tessitura in Russian: Тесситура
tessitura in Swedish: Tessitura
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