American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Music Melodic material that is added above or below an existing melody.
- n. Music The technique of combining two or more melodic lines in such a way that they establish a harmonic relationship while retaining their linear individuality.
- n. Music A composition or piece that incorporates or consists of contrapuntal writing.
- n. A contrasting but parallel element, item, or theme.
- n. Use of contrasting elements in a work of art.
- v. Music To write or arrange (music) in counterpoint.
- v. To set in contrast: "The complex, clotted computer talk sadly counterpoints the simplistic nature of the characters” ( Rhoda Koenig).
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A coverlet; a counterpane.
- n. An opposite point.
- n. An opposite position or standpoint.
- n. In music: The art of musical composition in general.
- n. The art of polyphonic or concerted composition, in distinction from homophonic or melodic composition.
- n. Specifically, the art of adding to a given melody, subject, theme, or canto fermo, one or more melodies whose relations to the given melody are fixed by rules. Strict or plain counterpoint, which began to be cultivated in the thirteenth century, and attained great extension and perfection in the fifteenth, is usually divided into several species: note against note, in which to each note of the cantus is added one note in the accompanying part or parts; two against one, in which to each note of the cantus two notes are added; four against one, in which four notes are added; syncopated, in which to each note of the cantus one note is added after a constant rhythmic interval; florid or figured, in which the added part or parts are variously constructed. The melodic and harmonic intervals permitted in each species are minutely fixed by rule. Counterpoint is two-part when two voices or parts are used, three-part when three are used, etc. It is single when the added part uniformly lies above or below the cantus; double when the added part is so constructed as to be usable both above and below the cantus by a uniform transposition of an octave, a tenth, or some other interval; and triple when three melodies are so fitted as to be mutually usable above and below one another by transposition. Among the forms of counterpoint, the canon and the fugue are the most important. (See these words.) Next to a pure and natural use of melodic intervals, various kinds of imitation between the voices are specially sought, such as augmentation, diminution, inversion, reversion, etc. (See these words.) The practice of counterpoint was specially prominent in the Gallo-Belgic school of musicians from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century, and it has been a part of musical training and accomplishment ever since. It is a necessary basis for all polyphonic composition, although in modern music the strictness of its early rules has been much relaxed.
- n. A voice-part of independent character polyphonically combined with one or more other parts.
- n. music a melody added to an existing one, especially one added to provide harmony whilst each retains its simultaneous identity; a composition consisting of such contrapuntal melodies
- n. any similar contrasting element in a work of art
- v. transitive to compose or arrange such music
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. obsolete An opposite point.
- n. The setting of note against note in harmony; the adding of one or more parts to a given canto fermo or melody.
- n. The art of polyphony, or composite melody, i. e., melody not single, but moving attended by one or more related melodies.
- n. Music in parts; part writing; harmony; polyphonic music. See polyphony.
- n. A coverlet; a cover for a bed, often stitched or broken into squares; a counterpane. See 1st counterpane.
- v. write in counterpoint
- n. a musical form involving the simultaneous sound of two or more melodies
- v. to show differences when compared; be different
- From counter- + point, Middle French contrepoint. (Wiktionary)
“The term counterpoint originated in the fourteenth century, though the art designated by it had been practiced for several centuries previous.”
“So, in counterpoint to what Steph said, fiction does often beget the act of poetry for me – it happened all through 2003, when I was producing stories that were simply not very good and failing to finish stories in general and despairing of my ability to plot.”
“His hands, one grasping a withered stick and the other a bag filled with old bones, moved in counterpoint to his words.”
“I think an interesting counterpoint is the bilingual program in the community of Madrid.”
“By the second act you get a good feeling for the characters 'personalities, and seeing them around the same table, arguing in counterpoint, works well.”
“She has suggested also Mexican dishes wth rice in counterpoint to the paella which is Spanish which could be interesting.”
“The counterpoint is major airliners can fly and even land themselves on autopilot these days, largely because of advances in fly-by-wire and sensor technology.”
“But Coppola also gets the benefit of the general, vague familiarity with the piece, giving the scene an almost banal overtone that works in counterpoint with the intense violence.”
“Two bits of received wisdom about Elliott Carter's music are that individual instruments are given individual characters, and that there isn't much thematic imitation in the traditional sense — the program book for this year's Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music mentions, in regard to the Sonata for Harpsichord, Flute, Cello, and Oboe, that imitative counterpoint is "not usually found" in Carter.”
“An interesting counterpoint is the recent news item, about a policeman repeatedly striking a drunken woman “as hard as I was physically able” and “using brute force”.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘counterpoint’.
With focus on non-classical styles, but not excluding terms of the latter.
opposite; contrary to
Divisive devices; emissary of Momus.
scientific, musical, etc.
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