descant




In music, a descant is an additional vocal part above the main melody. Many church hymns include a descant, sung at a higher pitch than the melody. Literary types use descant as a verb to mean “talk on and on in a dull way.”

In medieval times, a descant was an improvised tune that singers or musicians added to a fixed melody. The medieval Latin term was discantus, “refrain” or “part-song,” from dis-, “apart,” and cantus, “song or bird-song.” Through the years, the word has been used for the soprano in a group of singers or the highest-pitched line in any song.

Definitions of descant
  1. noun

    a decorative musical accompaniment (often improvised) added above a basic melody

    synonyms:
    discant
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    type of:

    accompaniment, backup, musical accompaniment, support

    a musical part (vocal or instrumental) that supports or provides background for other musical parts

  2. verb

    sing by changing register; sing by yodeling

    synonyms:
    warble, yodel
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    type of:

    sing

    produce tones with the voice

  3. verb

    sing in descant

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    type of:

    sing

    produce tones with the voice

  4. verb

    talk at great length about something of one’s interest

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    type of:

    discourse, discuss, talk about

    consider or examine in speech or writing

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