1

descant

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

Definition of descant

1 a : a melody or counterpoint sung above the plainsong of the tenor
b : the art of composing or improvising contrapuntal part music; also : the music so composed or improvised
d : 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


2

descant

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

Definition of descant

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

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

First Known Use of descant

15th century


DESCANT Defined for English Language Learners

descant

noun

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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