Figurate descant

Definitions

  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Figurate descant (Mus) that which is not simple, or in which the parts do not move together tone for tone, but in which freer movement of one or more parts mingles passing discords with the harmony; -- called also figural figurative, and figured counterpoint or descantalthough the term figured is more commonly applied to a bass with numerals written above or below to indicate the other notes of the harmony).
    • ***

Usage

In literature:

Instead of the national game the class was wrestling with figured bass and the art of descant, and again it groaned aloud.
"Old Fogy" by James Huneker
***

In poetry:

Alas! now wilt thou chide, and say (I deem),
My figured descant hides the simple theme:
Or in another wise reproving, say
I ill observe thine own high reticent way.
Oh, pardon, that I testify of thee
What thou couldst never speak, nor others be!
"Epilogue--To The Poet's Sitter" by Francis Thompson