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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ Water chestnuts and snow peas provided a light counterpoint to the duck.
▪ The gnarly Texas scrub provides a vivid counterpoint to the fading sunlight.
▪ The government trading desk was a counterpoint to the visible gluttony and ethnicity of the mortgage department.
▪ The plainness of the rooms in this series makes an interesting counterpoint to the fanciful objects and people that inhabit them.
▪ These warnings against an excess of counterpoint are really concerned with emotive beauty in music.
▪ This is a style of wheat beer that I especially enjoy, with its teasing counterpoint of tartness and chocolate-malt sweetness.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Counterpoint \Coun"ter*point`\ (koun"t?r-point`), n. [Counter- + point.] An opposite point [Obs.]
--Sir E. Sandys.


Counterpoint \Coun"ter*point`\, n. [F. contrepoint; cf. It. contrappunto. Cf. Contrapuntal.] (Mus.)

  1. The setting of note against note in harmony; the adding of one or more parts to a given canto fermo or melody.

  2. The art of polyphony, or composite melody, i. e., melody not single, but moving attended by one or more related melodies.

  3. Music in parts; part writing; harmony; polyphonic music. See Polyphony.

    Counterpoint, an invention equivalent to a new creation of music.


Counterpoint \Coun"ter*point`\, n. [OF. contrepoincte, corruption of earlier counstepointe, countepointe, F. courtepointe, fr. L. culcita cushion, mattress (see Quilt, and cf. Cushion) + puncta, fem. p. p. of pungere to prick (see Point). The word properly meant a stitched quilt, with the colors broken one into another.] A coverlet; a cover for a bed, often stitched or broken into squares; a counterpane. See 1st Counterpane.

Embroidered coverlets or counterpoints of purple silk.
--Sir T. North.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

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).\n

\nOf 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.


n. 1 (context music English) a melody added to an existing one, especially one added to provide harmony whilst each retains its simultaneous identity; a composition consisting of such contrapuntal melodies 2 any similar contrasting element in a work of art 3 An opposite point. vb. (context transitive English) to compose or arrange such music

  1. n. a musical form involving the simultaneous sound of two or more melodies

  2. v. to show differences when compared; be different; "the students contrast considerably in their artistic abilities" [syn: contrast]

  3. write in counterpoint; "Bach perfected the art of counterpointing"


In music, counterpoint is the relationship between voices that are harmonically interdependent ( polyphony) yet independent in rhythm and contour. It has been most commonly identified in classical music, strongly developing during the Renaissance and in much of the common practice period, especially in Baroque music. The term originates from the Latin punctus contra punctum meaning "point against point".

Counterpoint (Star Trek: Voyager)

__NOTOC__ "Counterpoint" is the 104th episode of Star Trek: Voyager, the tenth episode of the fifth season.

Counterpoint (disambiguation)

In music, counterpoint is a texture involving the simultaneous sounding of separate melodies or lines "against" each other.

Counterpoint may also refer to:

Counterpoint (horse)

Counterpoint (1948–1969) was an American Champion Thoroughbred racehorse. He was sired by 1943 U.S. Triple Crown champion Count Fleet.

Counterpoint (Radio National)

Counterpoint is a current affairs Australian weekly radio program that is broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Radio National.

Counterpoint (Jason Webley album)

Counterpoint is the third album by Jason Webley, released in 2002.

Counterpoint (1968 film)

Counterpoint (also known as The Battle Horns or The General) is an 1968 epic war film starring Charlton Heston, Maximilian Schell, and Leslie Nielsen. It is based on the novel The General by Alan Sillitoe. In the United States the film was released as a double feature with Sergeant Ryker a 1963 television film starring Lee Marvin.

Counterpoint (TV series)

Counterpoint is a Canadian current affairs television series on English-French Canadian relations which aired on CBC Television in 1967.

Counterpoint (In the Nursery album)

Prelude 1983-1985 is a compilation album by In the Nursery, released in 1989 through Sweatbox Records. It collects tracks from several of their early EPs.

Counterpoint (Schenker)

Counterpoint (Kontrapunkt in the original German) is the second volume of Heinrich Schenker's New Musical Theories and Fantasies (the first is Harmony and the third is Free Composition). It is divided into two "Books", the first published in 1910, and the second in 1922.

The subject matter of the work is species counterpoint. Book I is concerned with the construction of the cantus firmus and the rules of counterpoint in two voices, also referred to as "strict counterpoint"; Book II treats the cases of three- and four-voice counterpoint. Schenker thus follows the model of Fux in presenting all of the species in turn before adding additional voices.

Counterpoint (radio)

Counterpoint is a BBC Radio 4 quiz. Described in the show's introduction as "The general knowledge music quiz", the questions are about music, from classical, jazz, pop, musicals, and all other forms of music. It was originally hosted by Ned Sherrin (1986–2006). In the chair for the 2007 series was Edward Seckerson with Paul Gambaccini taking over in 2008, following the death of Ned Sherrin in 2007. Russell Davies took over temporarily in 2013 following allegations made against Gambaccini, who returned to the show in November 2014 after being cleared of the allegations.

Counterpoint (publisher)

Counterpoint LLC is a publishing company distributed by Perseus Books Group launched in 2007. It was formed from the consolidation of three presses: Perseus' Counterpoint Press, Avalon Publishing Group's Shoemaker & Hoard and the independent Soft Skull Press. The company publishes books under the Counterpoint Press and Soft Skull Press imprints. Counterpoint also entered into an agreement for the production, marketing and distribution of approximately eight Sierra Club book titles each year. Both Wendell Berry and poet Gary Snyder are investors in Counterpoint, with both of their works currently being published by the Counterpoint imprint. Jack Shoemaker, Vice-president and editorial director of Counterpoint, has worked with both authors in other companies for more than thirty years.

Usage examples of "counterpoint".

Among the interlaced melodies of the human counterpoint are love songs and anacreontics, marches and savage dance-rhythms, hymns of hate and loud hilarious chanties.

Smiling faces on folks laden with armsful of clothing, toiletries and treats, singing the praises of Bianca Germayne, played very well, especially when counterpointed against local government officials saying that everyone would have to tighten their belts and pull together until the crisis passed.

As her feet touched the drumskin, it began a deep-pitched roll, counterpointed by the cry of the Fiata.

Still, the blazing fireflowers brought ecstasy to the Point and Counterpoint, causing them to shift into their own frenzied syncopation.

When she saw the fallen gangbanger she began to scream Spanish obscenities at Laureano, a shrill counterpoint to the growing wail of sirens.

She may not have used her tongues, but she certainly used hips and chest in counterpoint to his thrusts.

Fits of weeping and malaise alternating with furious bouts of lovemaking were her idea of romantic counterpoint.

Two black-and-whites were parked nearby, radios providing a squawking counterpoint to the murmurs of the gathering crowd.

The two Cygnans tossed the word back and forth, like shrikes calling to each other in counterpoint.

Anne sings her Will o' the Wisp song and Will his Cassiopeia song again, and both are in counterpoint to the song of the Queen's Men.

As the tune came back around for a second time, Eric smiled to himself and began playing counterpoint.

Screams of rage and pain split the night, accompanied by the iron hammering of shod hooves throwing up sparks as they smashed down on stone, to the counterpoint of the clangour of steel on steel.

It was driven by a pair of Bas-Tyran guards and followed by four more on foot, their hobnails a counterpoint to the clangour of iron-rimmed wheels on stone and their halberds swaying as they marched in step.

It was clean, solid, healthy, joyous, inexhaustible girl, all clovery oils and pungencies, long limber waist and torso sophisticating the rhythmic counterpoint of solid, heated, thirsty hips, creating somehow along with release the small awarenesses of new hunger soon to rebuild.

Hosts of birds and reptilian creatures soared into the air, scattering madly, their panicked calls counterpointing the mad shouts of the demons.