• synonyms


[kan-tuh s]
noun, plural can·tus.
  1. cantus firmus.
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Origin of cantus

From Latin, dating back to 1580–90; see origin at canto
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cantus

Historical Examples of cantus

  • Write four times, changing the cantus firmus into every part.

    A Treatise on Simple Counterpoint in Forty Lessons

    Friedrich J. Lehmann

  • In other cantatas it is noted that the cantus firmus (the chorale-melody) is in the soprano, or other voice.


    Charles Francis Abdy Williams

  • From this peculiarity the chant obtained the name of cantus firmus, or fixed chant.

    How Music Developed

    W. J. Henderson

  • The Cantus Evangelii and Epistolarum admitted likewise of a great and wearisome licence of inflection.

    Rites and Ritual

    Philip Freeman

  • Two-part counterpoint comprises a cantus firmus and a counterpoint.

British Dictionary definitions for cantus


noun plural -tus
  1. a medieval form of church singing; chant
  2. Also called: canto the highest part in a piece of choral music
  3. (in 15th- or 16th-century music) a piece of choral music, usually secular, in polyphonic style
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Word Origin for cantus

Latin: song, from canere to sing
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012