canto fermo

/ ˈkæntəʊ ˈfɜːməʊ; ˈkæntəs ˈfɜːməs /


  1. a melody that is the basis to which other parts are added in polyphonic music
  2. the traditional plainchant as prescribed by use and regulation in the Christian Church

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of canto fermo1

Italian, from Medieval Latin, literally: fixed song

Discover More

Example Sentences

Choral music in all ages has tended to consist largely of counterpoint on a canto fermo (see Contrapuntal Forms).

In the very sound of it there is a canto fermo; it proceeds as by a chant.

In the simplest cases the Canto Fermo has notes of equal length and is unbroken in flow.

In life we have destiny from which there is no escape; in counterpoint we have the canto fermo of which not a note may be altered.

The morning service closed at half-past one with a hymn in canto fermo.


Word of the Day


[fur-kin ]

Meaning and examples

Start each day with the Word of the Day in your inbox!

By clicking "Sign Up", you are accepting Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policies.