polyphony

noun
po·​lyph·​o·​ny | \ pə-ˈli-fə-nē How to pronounce polyphony (audio) \

Definition of polyphony

: a style of musical composition employing two or more simultaneous but relatively independent melodic lines : counterpoint

Examples of polyphony in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Her narratives mingle the voices of men, women, children and even ghosts in layered polyphony. Margalit Fox, New York Times, "Toni Morrison, Towering Novelist of the Black Experience, Dies at 88," 8 Apr. 2015 Her narratives mingle the voices of men, women, children and even ghosts in layered polyphony. Margalit Fox, New York Times, "Toni Morrison, Towering Novelist of the Black Experience, Dies at 88," 8 Apr. 2015 Her narratives mingle the voices of men, women, children and even ghosts in layered polyphony. Margalit Fox, New York Times, "Toni Morrison, Towering Novelist of the Black Experience, Dies at 88," 8 Apr. 2015 Public reaction to the new MoMA will no doubt combine a bit of polyphony with some cacophony. Washington Post, "MoMA turns itself inside out for the 21st century," 5 Sep. 2019 Her narratives mingle the voices of men, women, children and even ghosts in layered polyphony. Margalit Fox, New York Times, "Toni Morrison, Towering Novelist of the Black Experience, Dies at 88," 8 Apr. 2015 Her narratives mingle the voices of men, women, children and even ghosts in layered polyphony. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Toni Morrison, ‘Beloved’ author and nobel laureate, dies at 88," 6 Aug. 2019 His 1920s recordings with the Red Hot Peppers reached the peak of the New Orleans style of group embellishment and collective improvisation, with its trademark heterophony and polyphony. John Edward Hasse, WSJ, "Plotting His Way Into Jazz History," 7 Sep. 2018 These works were extremely influential among superior jazz and pop orchestrators of the 1950s, like Nelson Riddle, who were especially inspired by his use of polyphony. Will Friedwald, WSJ, "‘A Rhapsody in Blue: The Extraordinary Life of Oscar Levant’ Review," 21 Aug. 2018

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

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First Known Use of polyphony

1790, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for polyphony

Greek polyphōnia variety of tones, from polyphōnos having many tones or voices, from poly- + phōnē voice — more at ban entry 1

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Time Traveler for polyphony

Time Traveler

The first known use of polyphony was in 1790

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Last Updated

14 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Polyphony.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polyphony. Accessed 22 November 2019.

More from Merriam-Webster on polyphony

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with polyphony

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about polyphony

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