(from It. sopra, ‘above’).
1 The highest register of female (or artificial male) v. A boy sop. is known as a treble. Normal female range is from middle C upwards for 2 octaves. The male sop. was a castrato, used in opera and church mus. in 17th and 18th cents. In the opera house, many sub‐divisions of the term soprano exist, e.g. dramatic, lyric, coloratura, soubrette, character, etc.
2 Sop. clef is obsolete clef, with middle C on bottom line of staff.
3 The term is also used for high instr. register, e.g. soprano cornet, soprano sax. (See also sopranino.) See also mezzo‐soprano.