cantus firmus

cantus firmus

[kan-tuhs fur-muhs]
noun
1.
the ancient traditional unisonal plainchant of the Christian Church, having its form set and its use prescribed by ecclesiastical tradition.
2.
Music. a fixed melody to which other voices are added, typically in polyphonic treatment.

Origin:
1840–50; < Medieval Latin: literally, firm song

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World English Dictionary
canto fermo or cantus firmus (ˈkæntəʊ ˈfɜːməʊ, ˈkæntəs ˈfɜːməs)
 
n
1.  a melody that is the basis to which other parts are added in polyphonic music
2.  the traditional plainchant as prescribed by use and regulation in the Christian Church
 
[Italian, from Medieval Latin, literally: fixed song]
 
cantus firmus or cantus firmus
 
n
 
[Italian, from Medieval Latin, literally: fixed song]

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