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[pleyn-chant, -chahnt] /ˈpleɪnˌtʃænt, -ˌtʃɑnt/
plainsong (defs 1, 2).
1720-30; plain1 + chant, modeled on French plain-chant Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for plainchant
  • Voices explores a wide spectrum of musical expression, from plainchant to specially commissioned new works.
British Dictionary definitions for plainchant


another name for plainsong
Word Origin
C18: from French, rendering Medieval Latin cantus plānus; see plain1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for plainchant


the Gregorian chant (q.v.) and, by extension, other similar religious chants. The word derives from the 13th-century Latin term cantus planus ("plain song"), referring to the unmeasured rhythm and monophony (single line of melody) of Gregorian chant, as distinguished from the measured rhythm of polyphonic (multipart) music, called cantus mensuratus, or cantus figuratus ("measured," or "figured," song). Its other main application is to ancient Christian music with the same unmeasured rhythm and monophony-in the West, Ambrosian, Gallican, and Mozarabic chants (qq.v.); in the East, Byzantine, Syrian, Coptic, Ethiopian, and Armenian chants (qq.v.). It may also refer to similar non-Christian religious music, such as Jewish and Hindu chants.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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