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Owen Jander

Singers who were able to perform in the range between the tenor and the top voice (superius, cantus, soprano) were of five types, and the particular choice varied not only from period to period, but from region to region – even from choir to choir, or, later, from one production of an opera to a later revival. The first type of alto-range singer was the man with an extremely high natural voice. Unusually high tenors of this sort have always been rare, and highly prized. Burney, for example, described one William Turner ( 1651–1740 ) as ‘a counter-tenor singer, his voice