Counterpoint



[koun-ter-point] /ˈkaʊn tərˌpɔɪnt/

noun
1.
Music. the art of combining melodies.
2.
Music. the texture resulting from the combining of individual melodic lines.
3.
a melody composed to be combined with another melody.
4.
Also called counterpoint rhythm. Prosody. (def 2).
5.
any element that is juxtaposed and contrasted with another.
verb (used with object)
6.
to emphasize or clarify by contrast or juxtaposition.
/ˈkaʊntəˌpɔɪnt/
noun
1.
the technique involving the simultaneous sounding of two or more parts or melodies
2.
a melody or part combined with another melody or part See also descant (sense 1)
3.
the musical texture resulting from the simultaneous sounding of two or more melodies or parts
4.
strict counterpoint, the application of the rules of counterpoint as an academic exercise
5.
a contrasting or interacting element, theme, or item; foil
6.
(prosody) the use of a stress or stresses at variance with the regular metrical stress
verb
7.
(transitive) to set in contrast
n.

early 15c., of stitching, from Old French cuilte contrepointe “quilt stitched through and through,” altered from coute pointe, from Medieval Latin culcita puncta “quilted mattress,” from Latin culcita “cushion” + puncta, fem. past participle of pungere “to prick, stab” (see pungent).

Of music, mid-15c., from Old French contrepoint, from Medieval Latin cantus contrapunctus, from contrapunctum, from Latin contra + puncta, with reference to the indication of musical notes by “pricking” with a pointed pen over or under the original melody on a manuscript.

The use of two or more melodies at the same time in a piece of music; it was an important part of baroque music. Certain composers, such as Johann Sebastian Bach, have been especially skillful at counterpoint.

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