Definition of contrapuntal in US English:



  • 1Of or in counterpoint.

    • ‘Generally, they are more lyrical and less contrapuntal than their German counterparts.’
    • ‘One would expect this in something like the early Passacaglia, a contrapuntal Baroque form in which a set of variations occurs over a repeating bass.’
    • ‘The final movement has some pounding drums with trumpets and some more contrapuntal blending of melodic lines.’
    • ‘The motets, however, represent the zenith of Brahms's contrapuntal art.’
    • ‘One finds this mirrored in the antiphonies between orchestral groups in a huge, highly contrapuntal gigue.’
    • ‘This symphony is, if anything, contrapuntal, and the first movement a stunning exemplar.’
    1. 1.1 (of a piece of music) with two or more independent melodic lines.
      • ‘This is a tall order indeed, yet performers wishing to play contrapuntal music well have to master this juggling act.’
      • ‘The architecture of contrapuntal music was gloriously celebrated by Palestrina in Rome, Lassus in Munich, and Byrd in London.’
      • ‘In contrapuntal music the phrases of the various melodic voices overlap except at the most important cadences.’
      • ‘The dominance of contrapuntal music or the ‘first practice’ was, however, already threatened by developments occurring elsewhere on the peninsula.’
      • ‘He had trouble with highly contrapuntal music.’


Mid 19th century: from Italian contrapunto (see counterpoint) + -al.