from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The art, process, or result of depicting by means of tones; musical description or suggestion.


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  • The contrasts were plentiful: Chopin's emotionalism against Bach's Olympian detachment; funereal brooding against serene optimism; poetic, improvisatory tone-painting against perfectly worked-out counterpoint.


  • In many apparently serious motets the tone-painting of individual words is so literal that one suspects a half-humorous intent, and occasionally one is sure of it: the concertato performance of motets is parodied in Laudent Deum cythara, in which five instrumental families are named, to music characteristic for each, in the space of a dozen bars the total length of the piece.

    Archive 2009-06-01

  • As a result, Liszt deserves to be allotted his rightful place more conclusively as the father of the tone-painting, image-creating composers and of those who cracked the tonal walls of diatonic music from Debussy right through to and including Stravinsky in The Firebird and Petrushka.

    Playing Liszt

  • To call him "the father of tone-painting, image-creating composers" seems to me, however, to somewhat overstate his case.

    Playing Liszt

  • As a feat of sheer tone-painting one recalls few things, of a similar scope and purpose, that surpass it in fitness, concision, and felicity.

    Edward MacDowell

  • It is difficult to recall anything in objective tone-painting, for the piano or for the orchestra, conceived and executed quite in the manner of this remarkable piece of lyrical impressionism.

    Edward MacDowell

  • The overture, as fresh and picturesque a piece of tone-painting as anything he ever wrote, is familiar to all concert-goers, and the opening of the first act is no less original.

    The Opera A Sketch of the Development of Opera. With full Descriptions of all Works in the Modern Repertory.

  • His keen dramatic sense enabled him to arouse interest through contrasts, conspicuously characteristic passages, and independent orchestral preludes, interludes and bits of descriptive tone-painting.

    For Every Music Lover A Series of Practical Essays on Music

  • His command of color in tone-painting and power of dramatic suggestion have rarely been equaled, and never surpassed.

    The Great Italian and French Composers

  • He was an impressionist, as much as Monet was, because he was tone-painting with colors of harmony.

    LA Weekly | Complete Issue


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