castrato

castrato (kăsträˈtō) [key] [Ital., = castrated], a male singer with an artificially created soprano or alto voice, the result of castration in boyhood. The combination of the larynx of a youth and the chest and lungs of a man produced a powerful voice of great range and unique sound. Castrati were especially popular in churches and opera in Europe during the 17th and 18th cent. The most celebrated castrato was Carlo Broschi Farinelli.

See R. Freitas, Portrait of a Castrato (2010).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on castrato from Fact Monster:

  • countertenor - countertenor countertenor, a male singing voice in the alto range. Singing in this range requires ...
  • Carlo Broschi Farinelli - Farinelli, Carlo Broschi Farinelli, Carlo Broschi , 1705–82, Italian male soprano, greatest ...
  • soprano - soprano soprano [Ital.,=above], female voice of highest pitch. The three basic types of solo ...
  • eunuch - eunuch eunuch [Gr.,=keeper of the couch], castrated human male, particularly a chamberlain of a ...
  • voice, sound produced by living beings: The Voice in Music - The Voice in Music Not only is the voice the principal means of human communication, but it was ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Music: Theory, Forms, and Instruments