Meaning of countertenor in English:


Pronunciation /ˈkaʊntəˌtɛnə/

See synonyms for countertenor on

Translate countertenor into Spanish


  • 1Music
    The highest male adult singing voice (sometimes distinguished from the male alto voice by its strong, pure tone).

    ‘Of the four singers, the most impressive are the three guest performers, one of whom appears as both counter-tenor and tenor, excelling more with his tenor voice than as a falsettist.’
    • ‘Kenny sang in a clear and true counter-tenor which entirely befitted the ecclesiastical surroundings and added an appropriate 17th-century sound to the vocal range.’
    • ‘It was, however, a neat piece of vocal casting to use Zazzo's counter-tenor to provide an element of contrast in a piece heavy with male roles.’
    • ‘For me, this final partnership had already produced the most delicate acting and glorious blending of soprano and counter-tenor voice, as delivered by Sarah Tynan and Daniel Taylor.’
    • ‘I found myself haunted by the beauty of these songs and the crystalline balance of Scholl's counter-tenor with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra's understated accompaniments.’
    1. 1.1A singer with a countertenor voice.
      ‘Robin Blaze, a male counter-tenor, sings the ‘alto’ solos, although Bis's notes are not entirely clear about this point.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Now a real counter-tenor sings the role of Ruggiero, for example.’
      • ‘Mephisto is played by both a florid counter-tenor, here the strident-toned Andrew Watts, as well as by a cabaret-style soprano, here Susan Bickley.’
      • ‘Another mezzo-soprano and a tall, male counter-tenor will fill slots in two touring productions.’


Late Middle English from French contre-teneur, from obsolete Italian contratenore, based on Latin tenor (see tenor).