Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The absence of a tonal center and of harmonies derived from a diatonic scale corresponding to such a center; lack of tonality.
  • noun A style of composition that lacks such a tonal center and its derived harmonies.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun the absence of a key; alternative to the diatonic system.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun uncountable, music A style of music that is written without a key.
  • noun countable, music A passage written without a key.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the absence of a key; alternative to the diatonic system

Etymologies

Sorry, no etymologies found.

Examples

  • (Which, interestingly, would mean that the reaction against atonality is less about the intrinsic properties of tonal harmonies and more about it’s ability to create the illusion of rhythmic symmetry.)

    Archive 2006-09-01

  • (Which, interestingly, would mean that the reaction against atonality is less about the intrinsic properties of tonal harmonies and more about it’s ability to create the illusion of rhythmic symmetry.)

    What you see is what you get?

  • Well, Schoenberg was the progenitor of what is called atonality, which meant simply that he abandoned most of the harmonies that had been in use for centuries and devised new harmonies of his own, which were sometimes quite frightening to hear and, in other cases, had a sort of a weird impressionistic beauty to them.

    Beauty Amid the Discord: Music in the 20th Century

  • Well, Schoenberg was the progenitor of what is called atonality, which meant simply that he abandoned most of the harmonies that had been in use for centuries and devised new harmonies of his own, which were sometimes quite frightening to hear and, in other cases, had a sort of a weird impressionistic beauty to them.

    Beauty Amid the Discord: Music in the 20th Century

  • Well, Schoenberg was the progenitor of what is called atonality, which meant simply that he abandoned most of the harmonies that had been in use for centuries and devised new harmonies of his own, which were sometimes quite frightening to hear and, in other cases, had a sort of a weird impressionistic beauty to them.

    Beauty Amid the Discord: Music in the 20th Century

  • Well, Schoenberg was the progenitor of what is called atonality, which meant simply that he abandoned most of the harmonies that had been in use for centuries and devised new harmonies of his own, which were sometimes quite frightening to hear and, in other cases, had a sort of a weird impressionistic beauty to them.

    Beauty Amid the Discord: Music in the 20th Century

  • Well, Schoenberg was the progenitor of what is called atonality, which meant simply that he abandoned most of the harmonies that had been in use for centuries and devised new harmonies of his own, which were sometimes quite frightening to hear and, in other cases, had a sort of a weird impressionistic beauty to them.

    Beauty Amid the Discord: Music in the 20th Century

  • Well, Schoenberg was the progenitor of what is called atonality, which meant simply that he abandoned most of the harmonies that had been in use for centuries and devised new harmonies of his own, which were sometimes quite frightening to hear and, in other cases, had a sort of a weird impressionistic beauty to them.

    Beauty Amid the Discord: Music in the 20th Century

  • The negative reaction began to gather when Mr. Reed was named "the most overrated lyricist of all time" by the music website Flavorwire, and almost simultaneously a Village Voice online critic who heard a "Lulu" preview cited its "grinding atonality that veers on amusicality" and "relentless misogyny."

    A Rocky Start to a Metal Marriage

  • You start to understand why, even given late-Romantic levels of dissonance, atonality so bothered the d'Indys of the world — dissonance was OK as long as the movement from key center to key center remained purposeful and perceptible, but lose that modulation, and things start to seem random.

    Mod squad

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