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[tes-i-too r-uh; Italian tes-see-too-rah] /ˌtɛs ɪˈtʊər ə; Italian ˌtɛs siˈtu rɑ/
noun, plural tessituras, tessiture
[tes-i-too r-ey; Italian tes-see-too-re] /ˌtɛs ɪˈtʊər eɪ; Italian ˌtɛs siˈtu rɛ/ (Show IPA)
the general pitch level or average range of a vocal or instrumental part in a musical composition:
an uncomfortably high tessitura.
Origin of tessitura
1890-95; < Italian: literally, texture < Latin textūra; see texture Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for tessitura
Historical Examples
  • The tessitura of Butterfly is very high, and the rle is a strain for her.

    Interpreters Carl Van Vechten
  • One should never try to change the tessitura, or natural character of the voice.

    Caruso and Tetrazzini on the Art of Singing

    Enrico Caruso and Luisa Tetrazzini
  • This octave, however, represents merely the compass (ambitus or tessitura) of the melody: it has nothing to do with its tonality.

    The Modes of Ancient Greek Music David Binning Monro
British Dictionary definitions for tessitura


noun (music)
the general pitch level of a piece of vocal music: an uncomfortably high tessitura
the compass or range of a voice
Word Origin
Italian: texture, from Latin textura; see texture
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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