4 definitions found

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:

Descant \Des"cant\ (d[e^]s"k[a^]nt), noun [OF. descant, deschant, F. d['e]chant, discant, LL. discantus, fr. L. dis + cantus singing, melody, fr. canere to sing. See {Chant}, and cf. {Descant}, verb (used without an object), {Discant}.]

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 d['e]chant, 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.

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:

Descant \Des*cant"\ (d[e^]s*k[a^]nt"), verb (used without an object) [imp. & p. p. {Descanted}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Descanting}.] [From descant; n.; or directly fr. OF. descanter, deschanter; L. dis- + cantare to sing.]

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.

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:

Figurate \Fig"ur*ate\, adjective [L. figuratus, p. p. of figurare. See {Figure}.]

1. Of a definite form or figure.

Plants are all figurate and determinate, which inanimate bodies are not. --Bacon.

2. Figurative; metaphorical. [Obs.] --Bale.

3. (Mus.) Florid; figurative; involving passing discords by the freer melodic movement of one or more parts or voices in the harmony; as, figurate counterpoint or descant.

{Figurate counterpoint} or {Figurate descant} (Mus.), that which is not simple, or in which the parts do not move together tone for tone, but in which freer movement of one or more parts mingles passing discords with the harmony; -- called also {figural}, {figurative}, and {figured counterpoint} or {descant} (although the term figured is more commonly applied to a bass with numerals written above or below to indicate the other notes of the harmony).

{Figurate numbers} (Math.), numbers, or series of numbers, formed from any arithmetical progression in which the first term is a unit, and the difference a whole number, by taking the first term, and the sums of the first two, first three, first four, etc., as the successive terms of a new series, from which another may be formed in the same manner, and so on, the numbers in the resulting series being such that points representing them are capable of symmetrical arrangement in different geometrical figures, as triangles, squares, pentagons, etc.

Note: In the following example, the two lower lines are composed of figurate numbers, those in the second line being triangular, and represented thus: . 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. . . . 1, 3, 6, 10, etc. . . . . . . . etc. 1, 4, 10, 20, etc . . . . . . . . . . . .

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:



1: a decorative musical accompaniment (often improvised) added above a basic melody [syn: {descant}, {discant}]


1: sing in descant

2: sing by changing register; sing by yodeling; "The Austrians were yodeling in the mountains" [syn: {yodel}, {warble}, {descant}]

3: talk at great length about something of one's interest

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Monday, March 30, 2015 9:21:28 AM Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)