WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2020
can•tus fir•mus  (kantəs fûrməs),USA pronunciation 
  • Music and Dancethe ancient traditional unisonal plainchant of the Christian Church, having its form set and its use prescribed by ecclesiastical tradition.
  • Music and Dancea fixed melody to which other voices are added, typically in polyphonic treatment.
    • Medieval Latin: literally, firm song
    • 1840–50

    Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
    canto fermo /ˈkæntəʊ ˈfɜːməʊ/, cantus firmus /ˈkæntəs ˈfɜːməs/ n
    1. a melody that is the basis to which other parts are added in polyphonic music
    2. the traditional plainchant as prescribed by use and regulation in the Christian Church
    Etymology: Italian, from Medieval Latin, literally: fixed song
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