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

  • noun A system or arrangement of seven tones built on a tonic key.
  • noun The arrangement of all the tones and chords of a composition in relation to a tonic.
  • noun The scheme or interrelation of the tones in a painting.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In music:
  • noun The character or quality of tone.
  • noun Same as key, 7 .
  • noun In painting, the scheme of color of a picture; system of tones.

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

  • noun (Mus.) The principle of key in music; the character which a composition has by virtue of the key in which it is written, or through the family relationship of all its tones and chords to the keynote, or tonic, of the whole.

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

  • noun music The system of seven tones built on a tonic key; the 24 major and minor scales.
  • noun music A sound of specific pitch and quality; timbre.
  • noun music The quality of all the tones in a composition heard in relation to the tonic.
  • noun The interrelation of the tones in a painting.

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

  • noun any of 24 major or minor diatonic scales that provide the tonal framework for a piece of music


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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