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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Its arrangements are lean and contrapuntal, uncushioned, making every note earn its place both as a melodic line and a rhythmic push. The New York Times, New York Times, 27 Oct. 2022 Not a single image of the orchestra at work has a visual melody or a contrapuntal density, and the filming of performance seems borrowed from any DVD of a symphony orchestra. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 12 Oct. 2022 The song becomes a study of contrapuntal motion between his left and right hands, framing his familiar, luminous melody. Larry Blumenfeld, WSJ, 14 Sep. 2022 The strings are divided into two groups and operate in contrapuntal dialogue, building a universe in sound from the lowest notes. Los Angeles Times, 22 Feb. 2022 Bach’s wondrous contrapuntal complexity, full of numerical symbolism and mathematical purity, is mirrored on stage with the dancers assuming architectural set pieces of great beauty. Los Angeles Times, 19 Mar. 2022 With strong, contrapuntal performances from Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Jesse Plemons, and a haunting score by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, Campion and Wegner were careful not to visually overload any scene. Los Angeles Times, 5 Jan. 2022 Most of the movie is realized in extended takes that Akerman composes and calibrates to highlight the dancers’ deft comings and goings, the intricately contrapuntal connections of their gestures. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 3 Nov. 2021 Throughout the book, there are contrapuntal poems that reflect these conflicts or two selves: self and mirror self as well as self and shadow self. Alejandra Oliva,, 26 Oct. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contrapuntal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 26 Nov. 2022.

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