noun \ˈdes-ˌkant\

music : a high melody that is sung or played along with the main melody of a song

Full Definition of DESCANT

a :  a melody or counterpoint sung above the plainsong of the tenor
b :  the art of composing or improvising contrapuntal part music; also :  the music so composed or improvised
c :  soprano, treble
d :  a superimposed counterpoint to a simple melody sung typically by some or all of the sopranos
:  discourse or comment on a theme

Variants of DESCANT

des·cant also dis·cant \ˈdis-\

Origin of DESCANT

Middle English dyscant, from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French descaunt, from Medieval Latin discantus, from Latin dis- + cantus song — more at chant
First Known Use: 14th century


verb \ˈdes-ˌkant, des-ˈ, dis-ˈ\

Definition of DESCANT

intransitive verb
:  to sing or play a descant; broadly :  sing

Examples of DESCANT

  1. <an English professor who loves to descant on his beloved Shakespeare>
  2. <the soprano descanted above the melody line>

First Known Use of DESCANT

15th century


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