The contralto voice is the lowest female voice. The typical contralto range lies between the F below middle C (F3) to the the second F (F5) above middle C and often sings the part of Alto 2. In the lower and upper extremes, some contralto voices can sing from the E below middle C (E3) to the second B-flat above (Bb5), which is only one note short of the high "Soprano C". A more conservative tessitura for the composer to use may encompass a range as low as F3 but rarely if not never exceeding a D5.
Although the contralto voice has the lowest tessitura of the female voices, it should be noted that in current operatic practice, female singers with very low vocal tessituras are often included among mezzo-sopranos.
Contraltos are often broken down into two categories: Lyric contralto and Dramatic contralto.
|Instruments and Voices|
|Woodwinds||Flute (Piccolo/Alto/Bass) • Recorder • Oboe (Cor Anglais/Oboe D'amore/Heckelphone) • Clarinet (E♭/Bass/Contrabass) •|
|Brass||Horn • Cornet • Trumpet • Trombone • Euphonium • Tuba • Saxhorns|
|Keyboards||Piano • Organ • Harmonium • Harpsichord • Clavichord • Celesta • Accordion|
|Percussion||Tuned: Timpani • Glockenspiel • Chimes • Vibraphone • Xylophone • Marimba • Crotales • Musical saw • Hammered Dulcimer|
|Electronic||Theremin • Ondes Martenot • Synthesizer • Electronic Wind Instrument|
|Stringed||Bowed: Violin • Viola • Violoncello • Contrabass|
|Voices||Female: Soprano • Mezzo-soprano (often mistaken with Alto) • Contralto (often mistaken with Alto)|