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Thus the limbs of the castrati often grew unusually long, as did the bones of their ribs.
This, combined with intensive training, gave them unrivalled lung-power and breath capacity.
By 1574 there were castrati in the Ducal court chapel at Munich, where the Kapellmeister (music director) was the famous Orlando di Lasso.
Castrati were rarely referred to as such: in the 18th century, the euphemism musico (pl musici) was much more generally used, although it usually carried derogatory implications; another synonym was evirato, literally meaning "emasculated".
Eunuch is a more general term, since historically many eunuchs were castrated after puberty and thus the castration had no impact on their voices.
Castration as a means of subjugation, enslavement or other punishment has a very long history, dating back to ancient Sumer.
Operating through small, child-sized vocal cords, their voices were also extraordinarily flexible, and quite different from the equivalent adult female voice.
Their vocal range was higher than that of the uncastrated adult male.
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In a Western context, eunuch singers are known to have existed from the early Byzantine Empire.