cantus firmus

noun
cantus fir·mus | \-ˈfir-məs, -ˈfər-\

Definition of cantus firmus 

1 : the plainsong or simple Gregorian melody originally sung in unison and prescribed as to form and use by ecclesiastical tradition

2 : a melodic theme or subject especially : one for contrapuntal treatment

First Known Use of cantus firmus

1761, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cantus firmus

Medieval Latin, literally, fixed song

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The first known use of cantus firmus was in 1761

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