Share this entry
plainsong Syllabification: plain·song
Pronunciation: /ˈplānˌsôNG/

Definition of plainsong in English:


Unaccompanied church music sung in unison in medieval modes and in free rhythm corresponding to the accentuation of the words, which are taken from the liturgy. Compare with Gregorian chant.
Example sentences
  • Melody, harmony, and rhythm became as important to music as plainsong and counterpoint, and the arts of ornamentation and virtuoso extemporization thrived among the virginalists, and among the lute and consort players.
  • It's one of the sections of the Ordinary of the Mass which the congregation needs to join in: often in the Catholic church they sing it to traditional plainsong.
  • If you have no stomach for plainsong and church polyphony, steer clear of this recording.


Late Middle English: translating Latin cantus planus.

Definition of plainsong in:
Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources