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bel canto

[bel kan-toh, -kahn-; Italian bel kahn-taw] /ˌbɛl ˈkæn toʊ, -ˈkɑn-; Italian bɛl ˈkɑn tɔ/
noun, Music.
1.
a smooth, cantabile style of singing.
Origin
1890-1895
1890-95; < Italian: literally, fine singing, equivalent to bel (cognate with beau) + canto (see canto)
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for bel canto

bel canto

/ˈbɛl ˈkæntəʊ/
noun
1.
(music)
  1. a style of singing characterized by beauty of tone rather than dramatic power
  2. (as modifier): a bel canto aria
Word Origin
C19: Italian, literally: beautiful singing
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for bel canto

1894, Italian, literally "fine song."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for bel canto

style of operatic singing that originated in Italian singing of polyphonic (multipart) music and Italian courtly solo singing during the late 16th century and that was developed in Italian opera in the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries. Using a relatively small dynamic range, bel canto singing was based on an exact control of the intensity of vocal tone, a recognition of the distinction between the "diapason tone" (produced when the larynx is in a relatively low position) and the "flute tone" (when the larynx is in a higher position), and a demand for vocal agility and clear articulation of notes and enunciation of words

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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