or plain song

[ pleyn-sawng, -song ]
See synonyms for: plainsongplainsongs on

  1. the unisonous vocal music used in the Christian church from the earliest times.

  2. modal liturgical music; Gregorian chant.

  1. a cantus firmus or theme chosen for contrapuntal development.

  2. any simple and unadorned melody or air.

Origin of plainsong

1505–15; translation of Medieval Latin cantus plānus

Words Nearby plainsong Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use plainsong in a sentence

  • He appears familiar with the plainsong, and has based a symphony and portions of a quartet on Gregorian modes.

    Musical Portraits | Paul Rosenfeld
  • And Winchester, too, has all and more than all, the surprise of the plainsong; the better you know it the more you are impressed.

  • Descant in music is the melodious accompaniment to a simple theme, the plainsong or ground.

  • There was a chapel in the house, of a High Anglican kind, where vestments and incense were used, and plainsong sung.

    Hugh | Arthur Christopher Benson
  • Florid music, or all church music that is not plainsong, or its Lutheran equivalent the chorale-melody.

    Bach | Charles Francis Abdy Williams

British Dictionary definitions for plainsong


/ (ˈpleɪnˌsɒŋ) /

  1. the style of unison unaccompanied vocal music used in the medieval Church, esp in Gregorian chant: Also called: plainchant

Origin of plainsong

C16: translation of Medieval Latin cantus plānus

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