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syncopation

[sing-kuh-pey-shuh n, sin-] /ˌsɪŋ kəˈpeɪ ʃən, ˌsɪn-/
noun
1.
Music. a shifting of the normal accent, usually by stressing the normally unaccented beats.
2.
something, as a rhythm or a passage of music, that is syncopated.
3.
Also called counterpoint, counterpoint rhythm. Prosody. the use of rhetorical stress at variance with the metrical stress of a line of verse, as the stress on and and of in Come praise Colonus' horses and come praise/The wine-dark of the wood's intricacies.
4.
Grammar, syncope.
Origin
1525-1535
1525-35; < Medieval Latin syncopātiōn- (stem of syncopātiō), equivalent to Late Latin syncopāt(us) (see syncopate) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
nonsyncopation, noun

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, syncopation (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.
Origin
1400-50; late Middle English < Middle French contrepoint, translation of Medieval Latin (cantus) contrāpūnctus literally, (song) pointed or pricked against, referring to notes of an accompaniment written over or under the notes of a plainsong. See counter-, point
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for counter-point rhythm

counterpoint

/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
related
adjective contrapuntal
Word Origin
C15: from Old French contrepoint, from contre-counter- + point dot, note in musical notation, that is, an accompaniment set against the notes of a melody

syncopation

/ˌsɪŋkəˈpeɪʃən/
noun
1.
(music)
  1. the displacement of the usual rhythmic accent away from a strong beat onto a weak beat
  2. a note, beat, rhythm, etc, produced by syncopation
2.
another word for syncope (sense 2)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for counter-point rhythm

counterpoint

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.

syncopation

n.

1530s, "contraction of a word by omission of middle sounds," from Medieval Latin syncopationem (nominative syncopatio) "a shortening or contraction," from syncopare "to shorten," also "to faint away, to swoon," from Late Latin syncope (see syncope). Musical sense is attested from 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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counter-point rhythm in Culture

counterpoint definition


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.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for counter-point rhythm

syncopation

in music, the displacement of regular accents associated with given metrical patterns, resulting in a disruption of the listener's expectations and the arousal of a desire for the reestablishment of metric normality; hence the characteristic "forward drive" of highly syncopated music. Syncopation may be effected by accenting normally weak beats in a measure, by resting on a normal accented beat, or by tying over a note to the next measure

Learn more about syncopation with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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