Definitions

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

  • adjective Of or relating to tones, a tone, or tonality.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • In music, of or pertaining to tones.
  • Pertaining to tonality: as, a tonal fugue.
  • Of or pertaining to muscular tonicity.

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

  • adjective Of or relating to tones or tonality.
  • adjective music Employing tones that have a predictable relationship to some tonic.
  • adjective linguistics Employing differences in pitch (tones) to distinguish differences in the meaning of otherwise similar words (words which would otherwise be homophonic).
  • noun An animal companion which accompanies a person from birth to death.

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

  • adjective employing variations in pitch to distinguish meanings of otherwise similar words
  • adjective having tonality; i.e. tones and chords organized in relation to one tone such as a keynote or tonic

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Nahuatl tōnalli ("day, day sign")

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

tone +‎ -al

Examples

  • I would probably "ground" the audience in tonal conventional music sounds during the real-world part of Zann and move them into atonal "out-there" sounds when that window opens (if I am recalling the story correctly).

    Lovecraft Paragraphs : The Lovecraft News Network

  • I would probably "ground" the audience in tonal conventional music sounds during the real-world part of Zann and move them into atonal "out-there" sounds when that window opens (if I am recalling the story correctly).

    Archive 2009-08-01

  • Tonality and atonality (as syntaxes) may be anathema to one another, but the relationship between consonance and dissonance in tonal music is a defining characteristic of tonality.

    Spark plugs and transmissions

  • When you hear someone use the word tonal to describe an outfit’s color scheme, they are referring to looks like this one.

    Book Excerpt: ‘Life in Color’

  • When you consider that between Spanish, English and Arabic, well over half of the planet doesn't speak a tonal language, that puts Chinese at a serious competative disadvantage.

    Kaplin's Simplifiid Speling, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • Project of a new system of arithmetic, weight, measure, and coins, proposed to be called the tonal system, with sixteen to the base.

    A Budget of Paradoxes, Volume II (of II)

  • One of the cleanest and most interesting re-appropriations I've seen recently with the notion of tonal achieving increasingly good results across the board.

    Hypebeast

  • Rather, they constitute an inexplicable wave of energy which the Toltecs called the tonal and the nagual.

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  • But despite these several narrators and their widely differing stories, a kind of tonal monotony lies across the novel, which is devoid of the charming humor that leavened "The History of Love."

    Ron Charles reviews "Great House," by Nicole Krauss

  • But despite these several narrators and their widely differing stories, a kind of tonal monotony lies across the novel, which is devoid of the charming humor that leavened "The History of Love."

    Ron Charles reviews "Great House," by Nicole Krauss

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