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 For practitioners of what used to be called the lively arts, Life Isn’t Everything, an oral biography of Mike Nichols, is manna from heaven, its brilliantly orchestrated polyphony bringing him, his work, and his world to vivid life. Simon Callow, The New York Review of Books, "Charm Defensive," 8 Sep. 2020 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 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about polyphony

Time Traveler for polyphony

Time Traveler

The first known use of polyphony was in 1790

See more words from the same year

Statistics for polyphony

Cite this Entry

“Polyphony.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polyphony. Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.

More from Merriam-Webster on polyphony

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about polyphony

Comments on polyphony

What made you want to look up polyphony? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!