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
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