con·​tra·​pun·​tal ˌkän-trə-ˈpən-tᵊl How to pronounce contrapuntal (audio)
: of, relating to, or marked by counterpoint
contrapuntally adverb

Examples of contrapuntal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Her work, which has grown in acuity and emotional power, combines the complications of German and Soviet history with the lives of her characters, including those of her own family members, whose experiences echo with the past like contrapuntal music. Steven Erlanger, New York Times, 26 Apr. 2024 The story’s romance is warmly inviting, and DiCaprio and Gladstone work beautifully together, their different performance styles — Ernest is physically demonstrative while Mollie is reserved — creating a contrapuntal whole. Manohla Dargis, New York Times, 19 Oct. 2023 With its emphasis on virtuosity and advanced harmonies and contrapuntal rhythms, be-bop required the utmost skill and dedication. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Jan. 2024 The globe-hopping artist packed his already dense pictures with contrapuntal flourishes and sometimes incorporated diaristic text written in a tight, distinctive style. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 22 Dec. 2023 This is actually the most interesting part of the exhibition: contrapuntal to nearly every other founder-designer in fashion history, Aghion wasn’t interested in becoming a brand name. Vanessa Friedman and Max Lakin, New York Times, 20 Oct. 2023 His ability to craft contrapuntal textures that mirror plot complexities is obvious and effective. Luke Schulze, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Sep. 2023 His 1932 Requiem for unaccompanied voices was not performed until 1980, but has since become one of his most programmed pieces in the U.S. For someone who purportedly adored Tudor sacred music, Howells wrote surprisingly little to no contrapuntal imitation in his Requiem. Christian Hertzog, San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 Sep. 2023 The opening Requiem aeternam begins in lush, pastel harmonies before developing more contrapuntal textures. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, 16 Sep. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'contrapuntal.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Italian contrappunto counterpoint, from Medieval Latin contrapunctus — more at counterpoint entry 1

First Known Use

1816, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of contrapuntal was in 1816

Dictionary Entries Near contrapuntal

Cite this Entry

“Contrapuntal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

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