• synonyms


adjective Music.
  1. of or relating to counterpoint.
  2. composed of two or more relatively independent melodies sounded together.
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Origin of contrapuntal

1835–45; < Italian contrappunt(o) + -al1. See counterpoint
Related formscon·tra·pun·tal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for contrapuntal

Historical Examples

  • Is music to be prized and taken to our hearts because it is contrapuntal and complex?

    The Merry-Go-Round

    Carl Van Vechten

  • A series of contrapuntal, mental phantasmagoria from real life.

    Nightmare Tales

    H. P. Blavatsky

  • But its object was mainly the display of contrapuntal learning.

    Sebastian Bach

    Reginald Lane Poole

  • A melody to him was usually a detail in a contrapuntal scheme.

  • The Pope can do much, but he will not be able to get contrapuntal music into Varese.

British Dictionary definitions for contrapuntal


  1. music characterized by counterpoint
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Derived Formscontrapuntally, adverb

Word Origin

C19: from Italian contrappunto counterpoint + al 1
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

Word Origin and History for contrapuntal


1845, from Italian contrapunto "counterpoint," also "backstitch," from contra "against" (see contra) + punto "point" (see point (n.)). Musical use is from Medieval Latin cantus contrapunctis. Cf. counterpoint. Related: Contrapuntally.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper