Definition of descant
1a : a melody or counterpoint sung above the plainsong of the tenorb : the art of composing or improvising contrapuntal part music; also : the music so composed or improvisedc : soprano, trebled : a superimposed counterpoint to a simple melody sung typically by some or all of the sopranos
2 : discourse or comment on a theme
Did You Know?
The prefix des-, meaning "two" or "apart", indicates that the descant is a "second song" apart from the main melody. In popular songs a descant will often be sung at the very end to produce a thrilling climax.
Origin and Etymology 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
Examples of descant in a sentence
<an English professor who loves to descant on his beloved Shakespeare>
<the soprano descanted above the melody line>
First Known Use of descant
DESCANT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of descant for English Language Learners
music : a high melody that is sung or played along with the main melody of a song
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up descant? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).