(pronounced , sot
-che) (literally "under voice"), an Italian
expression, means to speak under one's breath. In music, a dramatic lowering of the vocal or instrumental tone — not necessarily pianissimo
, but with a hushed quality. An example of Sotto voce is in the Lacrymosa
from Mozart's Requiem
Mass in D Minor. The singers drop down their volume in order to attain the 'hushed' quality desired.
The term may also denote muttering in literary, theatrical or film scripts (related to the aside).