Definition and background:
The general range of a composition (usually vocal) or of a particular voice of a composition. Italian. The average range of a particular voice or instrument in a composition. If a tessitura is "high," the notes tend to be in the higher extreme of the total range of that voice or instrument. where a melody is located within a given vocal register (e.g. high in the soprano range); also, where a melody spends most of its time within its overall range. Tessitura can be high, medium or low. the range in which a voice part spends most of the time. this has a dramatic effect on sing ability, far more than an isolated low or high, due to the fact that the vocal muscles tire if they are forced to hold the same position for too long
Italian. The average range of a particular voice or instrument in a composition. If a tessitura is "high," the notes tend to be in the higher extreme of the total range of that voice or instrument
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary