from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Music An ornamental melody or counterpoint sung or played above a theme.
- n. Music The highest part sung in part music.
- n. A discussion or discourse on a theme.
- intransitive v. To comment at length; discourse: "He used to descant critically on the dishes which had been at table” ( James Boswell).
- intransitive v. Music To sing or play a descant.
- intransitive v. Music To sing melodiously.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A lengthy discourse on a subject
- n. a counterpoint melody sung or played above the theme
- v. To discuss at length.
- v. To sing or play a descant.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. Originally, a double song; a melody or counterpoint sung above the plain song of the tenor; a variation of an air; a variation by ornament of the main subject or plain song.
- n. The upper voice in part music.
- n. The canto, cantus, or soprano voice; the treble.
- n. A discourse formed on its theme, like variations on a musical air; a comment or comments.
- intransitive v. To sing a variation or accomplishment.
- intransitive v. To comment freely; to discourse with fullness and particularity; to discourse at large.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In music: A counterpoint added to a given melody or cantus firmus, and usually written above it.
- n. The art of contriving such a counterpoint, or, in general, of composing part-music. Descant was the first stage in the development of counterpoint; it began about 1100.
- n. In part-music, the upper part or voice, especially the soprano or air.
- n. A varied song; a song or tune with various modulations.
- n. A continued discourse or series of comments upon a subject; a disquisition; comment; remark.
- In music, to run a division or variety with the voice, on a musical ground in true measure; sing.
- To make copious and varied comments; discourse; remark again and again in varied phrase; enlarge or dwell on a matter in a variety of remarks or comments about it: usually with on or upon before the subject of remark: as, to descant upon the beauties of a scene, or the shortness of life.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- v. sing by changing register; sing by yodeling
- v. talk at great length about something of one's interest
- v. sing in descant
- n. a decorative musical accompaniment (often improvised) added above a basic melody
Middle English, from Anglo-Norman descaunt, from Medieval Latin discantus, a refrain : Latin dis-, dis- + Latin cantus, song, from past participle of canere, to sing; see kan- in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)