cantus firmus

[ kan-tuh s fur-muh s ]
/ ˈkæn təs ˈfɜr məs /


the ancient traditional unisonal plainchant of the Christian Church, having its form set and its use prescribed by ecclesiastical tradition.
Music. a fixed melody to which other voices are added, typically in polyphonic treatment.

Nearby words

  1. cantorial,
  2. cantoris,
  3. cantrip,
  4. cantuar.,
  5. cantus,
  6. canty,
  7. canuck,
  8. canula,
  9. canular,
  10. canulate

Origin of cantus firmus

1840–50; < Medieval Latin: literally, firm song Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019