Descant : Definition

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Definitions of Descant

Pronunciation : Des"cant
Part of Speech : n.
Etymology : [OF. descant, deschant, F. déchant, discant, LL. discantus, fr. L. dis + cantus singing, melody, fr. canere to sing. See Chant, and cf. Descant, v. i., Discant.]
Definition : 1. (Mus.) (a) Originally, a double song; a melody or counterpoint sung above the plain song of the tenor; a variation of an air; a variation by ornament of the main subject or plain song. (b) The upper voice in part music. (c) The canto, cantus, or soprano voice; the treble. Grove. Twenty doctors expound one text twenty ways, as children make descant upon plain song. Tyndale. She [the nightingale] all night long her amorous descant sung. Milton.

Note: The term has also been used synonymously with counterpoint, or polyphony, which developed out of the French déchant, of the 12th century.

2. A discourse formed on its theme, like variations on a musical air; a comment or comments. Upon that simplest of themes how magnificent a descant! De Quincey.
Source : Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, 1913

Pronunciation : Des*cant"
Part of Speech : v.
Etymology : [From descant; n.; or directly fr. OF. descanter, deschanter; L. dis- + cantare to sing.]
Definition : 1. To sing a variation or accomplishment.

2. To comment freely; to discourse with fullness and particularity; to discourse at large. A virtuous man should be pleased to find people descanting on his actions. Addison.

i. [imp. & p. p. Descanted; p. pr. & vb. n. Descanting.]
Source : Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, 1913


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