the name given to the highest of the three classes into which the voices of women are generally divided. (See C o n t r a l t o and M e z z o - S o p r a n o . ) The term is etymologically synonymous with ' Sovrano,' the head, chief or highest. But apar t from tho height to which the compass of the voice can climb, the true soprano is further distinguished by the unmistakable brightness and ring of its tone-quality. I t may be classified as the dramatic, the lyrical and the coloratur. A compass which extends to is necessary for a voice in the last-named category (see A g u j a r i ) . B flat is about the effective limit downwards. The voices of boys usually cover about two octaves-a to a " of the soprano range, with something approximating to the soprano quality. For artificial soprano see C a s t r a t o .