plainsong

plainsong

[pleyn-sawng, -song]
noun
1.
the unisonous vocal music used in the Christian church from the earliest times.
2.
modal liturgical music; Gregorian chant.
3.
a cantus firmus or theme chosen for contrapuntal development.
4.
any simple and unadorned melody or air.
Also, plain song.
Also called plainchant (for defs 1, 2).


Origin:
1505–15; translation of Medieval Latin cantus plānus

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World English Dictionary
plainsong (ˈpleɪnˌsɒŋ)
 
n
Also called: plainchant the style of unison unaccompanied vocal music used in the medieval Church, esp in Gregorian chant
 
[C16: translation of Medieval Latin cantus plānus]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

plainsong

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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