counterpoint

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From counter- +‎ point, Middle French contrepoint.

Noun[edit]

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counterpoint (countable and uncountable, plural counterpoints)

  1. (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.
    • 2009, Roger T. Dean, The Oxford Handbook of Computer Music
      I noticed [] that when a very cheesy synthesized violin sound plays in counterpoint with a real violin, it can quite convincingly seem as if two violins are playing.
  2. Any similar contrasting element in a work of art.
  3. An opposite point.
    • 1605, Sir Edwin Sandys, Europae Speculum [A Relation of the State of Religion in Europe], in Mary Ellen Henley, Sir Edwin Sandy's Europae Speculum: a Critical Edition (2001)
      [] Priests; who affecting in them selves and their followers a certein Angelical puritie, fell sodainly to the very counterpoint of justifying bestialitie.

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Verb[edit]

counterpoint (third-person singular simple present counterpoints, present participle counterpointing, simple past and past participle counterpointed)

  1. (transitive) to compose or arrange such music

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