1

descant

play
noun des·cant \ˈdes-ˌkant\
variants: or less commonly

play \ˈdis-\

Definition of descant

  1. 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. 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


2

descant

play
verb des·cant \ˈdes-ˌkant, des-ˈ, dis-ˈ\

Definition of descant

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to sing or play a descant; broadly :  sing

  3. 2 :  comment, discourse

Examples of descant in a sentence

  1. an English professor who loves to descant on his beloved Shakespeare

  2. the soprano descanted above the melody line

15th Century

First Known Use of descant

15th century


DESCANT Defined for English Language Learners

1

descant

play
noun des·cant \ˈdes-ˌkant\

Definition of descant for English Language Learners

  • music : a high melody that is sung or played along with the main melody of a song



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