from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In musical acoustics, an interval equivalent to one half of a semitone or half-step. The term is loosely applied to a variety of small intervals, especially to enharmonic ones.

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

  • noun half of a semitone


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • I simply applied the same principle to my genetically enlarged gulls, testing them at each quarter-tone past human range before I found exactly the right note.

    ...And Nail

  • The one borrowed tune on his new album is Thelonious Monk's "Blue Monk," radically recast in a quarter-tone version.

    Sam Newsome: A Soprano Sax 'Soliloquy'

  • In a series of experiments on Mr. Kennedy's machine, they've thrown several man-sized logs and two quarter-tone dead pigs into the air; one of the pigs parachuted gently back to earth, the other landed rather more forcefully.

    Archive 2005-02-01

  • And similarly if all existing things were tunes, they would have been a number, but a number of quarter-tones, and their essence would not have been number; and the one would have been something whose substance was not to be one but to be the quarter-tone.


  • For here it is a quarter-tone, and there it is the vowel or the consonant; and there is another unit of weight and another of movement.


  • And so in astronomy a β€˜one’ of this sort is the starting-point and measure (for they assume the movement of the heavens to be uniform and the quickest, and judge the others by reference to it), and in music the quarter-tone (because it is the least interval), and in speech the letter.


  • And as in other spheres the basic element is simple but not identical in all-in a system of weight it is the mina, in music the quarter-tone, and so on β€” so in syllogism the unit is an immediate premiss, and in the knowledge that demonstration gives it is an intuition.

    Posterior Analytics

  • Once I did that the strings were all surprise about a quarter-tone flat and had to retune back.

    The Last Dancer

  • I also haven't played for about three weeks due to various distractions and being slack, and had to retune all twelve strings as everything was sharp by almost a quarter-tone.

    The Last Dancer

  • For hours with an oscillator squeal beeping hi his ear to guide him, he sang endless quarter-tone scales.

    Starchild Omnibus


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