Definition of soprano in English:



  • 1The highest singing voice.

    ‘a piece composed for soprano, flute, and continuo’
    as modifier ‘a good soprano voice’
    • ‘It contrasts with the soprano voice, which has overtones of someone more out-going than Mary.’
    • ‘At some point the children chime in and finally a single soprano voice soars in counterpoint to the great roaring wave of harmony.’
    • ‘Both of these sections feature solo voices - a soprano in the Lacrimosa and a tenor in the Shevchenko setting.’
    • ‘She is tiny in stature, but is possessed of a ravishing soprano voice that rides the large orchestra, and fills the vast arena of the Coliseum with ease.’
    • ‘Her soprano voice was agile, yet strong enough to be heard over the sometimes somewhat clangorous orchestra.’
    • ‘She had an infectious laugh and a fine soprano voice.’
    • ‘If performers desired a keyboard accompaniment to a Bradbury arrangement, one could be improvised using the soprano and bass voices as the basis for appropriate harmonies.’
    • ‘Gareth and his daughters began singing, Tru's soprano with Relm's alto and his bass creating a perfect trio.’
    • ‘So great was the applause - and because it lasted so long - she reappeared and continued to sing in her clear soprano voice that reached the very back of the Opera House.’
    • ‘Her soprano voice deteriorated early, perhaps from overwork - as Marguerite in Faust, she once performed 24 consecutive nights.’
    • ‘As a bonus, this CD includes the five solos and duets for soprano and/or contralto as sung by Schwarzkopf and Ferrier on June 15, 1950.’
    • ‘Nina has a beautiful soprano voice which was a pleasure to hear.’
    • ‘First, they imported madrigals (settings of poetry usually for five voices: two sopranos, alto, tenor, and bass) from Italy.’
    • ‘The difference here is that The Collegiate Singers are all adult, and the soprano and alto voices thus women's.’
    • ‘At times, it makes sense to play the soprano and alto voices with the right hand, the tenor and bass with the left hand.’
    • ‘A smile spread across her face as she continued to sing, her clear soprano harmonising itself as the game intensified.’
    • ‘The other girl sang in a clear soprano that weaved its way through the flute's melody and soared through the audience.’
    • ‘Yours is a true soprano voice, right, not a falsetto?’
    • ‘Gardiner also has a fine team of soloists with the soprano voice of Donna Brown particularly outstanding.’
    • ‘When Giselle Kapochany's beautiful soprano voice began to sing ‘Stille Nacht’ under the starry sky, one by one doors opened onto lit rooms, and voices from many countries joined in.’
    1. 1.1 A female or boy singer with a soprano voice.
      • ‘It wasn't that long ago when a soprano either sang all of Bellini or left him alone.’
      • ‘A soprano, she sings for nonprofit organizations' benefits and is gaining singing experience through a local opera company.’
      • ‘It starred a young soprano Marie Slowey and the officer and the singer fell in love and married.’
      • ‘When one of Suzuki's sopranos sang a high A a tiny bit flat at the dress rehearsal.’
      • ‘She played it to the hilt as an over-inebriated soprano trying to sing in an operetta.’
      • ‘It was particularly irksome during a serene hymn by the medieval composer Machaut, sung by three sopranos from Paul Hillier's Theatre of Voices during the opening weekend of the inaugural festival.’
      • ‘He visited Rome and Naples where he made contact with a number of singers, including the soprano Anna Strada who would become his leading lady.’
      • ‘A gilded fountain played in the central stage, two sopranos sang operatic duets while the New Zealand School of Dance, in medieval-style costumes, danced around the fountain.’
      • ‘Eight members of The Clerks' Group appear here: two sopranos, two altos, two tenors, and two basses.’
      • ‘The soprano sings the text, often one syllable at a time, at the extreme top of her range.’
      • ‘If you like standard contemporary Irish folk sung by a lilting soprano, here you go.’
      • ‘There's nothing wrong with that (the soprano and mezzo who sang in the premiere were Verdi's original Aïda and Amneris).’
      • ‘As I mentioned, last night there were three singers the choir - two basses and a soprano - off singing in a performance of the Rachmaninov Vespers.’
      • ‘Three sopranos blend their voices together in eerie beauty, and the male chorus provides a firm underpinning, often through chanting.’
      • ‘Why Mozart composed the motet for Rauzzini and not a female soprano is not known.’
      • ‘The Armonico Consort's vocal forces were slightly larger, with eight sopranos singing the divided top line.’
      • ‘It's an all out show but the music is just so emotional, it requires such a range in a singer, particularly the lead soprano.’
      • ‘These are sung by the soprano Anne Schwanewilms, a new name yes, but definitely a rising and shining voice in the singing firmament.’
      • ‘Earlier in Freni's career she was primarily a lyric soprano, and even sang coloratura roles such as Elvira in Bellini's I Puritani.’
      • ‘As the main emphasis of the courses lies in the choir made up of all participants, space is limited to approximately twenty sopranos, twelve altos and counter-tenors, and sixteen basses.’
    2. 1.2 A part written for a soprano voice.
      • ‘Anne Sofie von Otter is a stunningly good choice as Sesto, a young nobleman who Handel wrote as either soprano or tenor, so to cast such an intelligent mezzo is an imaginative step.’
      • ‘She was an alto trying to sing soprano and missing.’
      • ‘The younger is an alto but everyone makes her sing soprano.’
      • ‘The music was fun and in that situation I liked singing soprano better than singing alto, although I do love the inner harmonies, too.’
      • ‘Jane Hunt will sing soprano, Pamela Rudge alto, Roland Kitchen tenor and Paul Fletcher bass.’
      • ‘But before the last movement of the symphony, a solo for soprano, Mahler's musical realisation of a child's view of heaven, he discreetly opens his score.’
      • ‘An aria from a modern opera is the title of a new work for soprano and orchestra written by composer John Haddock.’
      • ‘The association began prohibiting boys from singing alto or soprano and girls from singing tenor or bass about two years ago.’
  • 2usually as modifier An instrument of a high or the highest pitch in its family.

    ‘a soprano saxophone’
    • ‘It's accordion, soprano sax, clarinet, bass, banjo and percussion.’
    • ‘The song bolts out with an anticipatory, pulsing rhythm under a soprano sax solo by Bruce Ackley.’
    • ‘My Oboe Concerto also plays with this kind of baroque set-up: the soloist is surrounded by a group of three more oboes and a soprano saxophone.’
    • ‘Over the years, McPhee has become adept on alto and soprano saxes, value trombone, flugelhorn, pocket trumpet, cornet, and various clarinets.’
    • ‘The veteran soprano saxophonist is pre-eminent on his instrument and has worked with many jazz greats, including Thelonious Monk, Gil Evans and Cecil Taylor.’
    • ‘On soprano sax, he adds featured guest Joe McPhee, the avant-jazz legend whose career is so crucial that the HatHut label was founded specifically to document his work.’
    • ‘It's yet another great pop song, despite the fact that the sound of a soprano sax gets me sawing off my shotguns and studying my Catcher in the Rye every time.’
    • ‘That was when he decided to switch to soprano saxophone - the instrument he's known for by most jazz fans.’
    • ‘This CD features five recording sessions from 1949-the year in which the majestic New Orleans-born soprano saxophonist decided to make France his home.’
    • ‘The sound of Kenny G's soprano sax filled every corner of the room.’
    • ‘He since has gone on to become as one of the finest soprano saxophone players in the world with a unique, dark, rich tone.’
    • ‘His buoyant, spicy soprano sax is front and centre, burbling among the snappy rhythms and lush textures of the vibrantly produced tracks.’
    • ‘Band leader, Ray Blue, is also a composer, arranger and performer on tenor, alto and soprano saxophones.’
    • ‘David Liebman is widely regarded as one of the finest musicians in the world on the soprano saxophone.’
    • ‘Tom Arthurs' Centipede are fidgety writhers, striking angular shapes with tricky grooves and utilising the spiked fork of their leader's trumpet and Laubrock's soprano saxophone.’
    • ‘The horns jostle, then take flight, with Jones on soprano saxophone, tipping in some searing soul-blues streaks.’
    • ‘However, it does demonstrate Simmons' impressive command of an instrument rarely heard in jazz, which sounds like a slightly deeper and richer soprano saxophone.’
    • ‘Steve Lacy plays soprano saxophone throughout Taylor's set, and he foreshadows John Coltrane's sound on the same instrument a few years later.’
    • ‘Parker's ‘New Fork’ explores circular territory that he normally negotiates on the soprano horn, making sideline squeaks and tubular honks.’
    • ‘This leads to a nice soprano sax solo, and the tune is well within the domain of standard fusion.’
    high, high-frequency, soprano, treble, falsetto, shrill, acute, sharp, piping, piercing, penetrating
    View synonyms


Mid 18th century: Italian, from sopra ‘above’, from Latin supra.