Mezzo-soprano vocal range (Italian: "half-soprano"), in vocal music the range between the soprano and the alto, usually encompassing the A below middle C and the second F or G above middle C. The term is often abbreviated to "mezzo."
A voice type is a particular kind of human singing voice perceived as having certain identifying qualities or characteristics. Voice classification is the process by which human voices are evaluated and are thereby designated into voice types. These qualities include but are not limited to: vocal range, vocal weight, vocal tessitura, vocal timbre, and vocal transition points such as breaks and lifts within the voice. Other considerations are physical characteristics, speech level, scientific testing, and vocal registration. The science behind voice classification developed within European classical music and is not generally applicable to other forms of singing. Voice classification is often used within opera to associate possible roles with potential voices. There are currently several different systems in use including: the German Fach system and the choral music system among many others. No system is universally applied or accepted. This article focuses on voice classification within classical music. For other contemporary styles of singing see: Voice classification in non-classical music.
Voice classification in non-classical music
Vocal range is the measure of the breadth of pitches that a human voice can phonate. Although the study of vocal range has little practical application in terms of speech, it is a topic of study within linguistics, phonetics, and speech and language pathology, particularly in relation to the study of tonal languages and certain types of vocal disorders. However, the most common application of the term "vocal range" is within the context of singing, where it is used as one of the major defining characteristics for classifying singing voices into groups known as voice types.
There is no authoritative system of voice classification in non-classical music as classical terms are used to describe not merely various vocal ranges, but specific vocal timbres unique to each range. These timbres are produced by classical training techniques with which most popular singers are not intimately familiar, and which even those that are do not universally employ.
The term non-classical music is typically used to describe music in jazz, pop, blues, soul, country, folk, and rock styles. In the USA Contemporary Commercial Music (CCM) is being used by some vocal pedagogues. Voice classification systems and vocal type terms were initially created for the purpose of classifying voices specifically within classical singing. As new styles of music developed, the quest for common terms for vocalists throughout these styles was sought, resulting in a loose application of the existing classical music practices. This haphazard and un-systematic approach to contemporary voices has been going on for years.