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Related to atonality: polytonality


n. pl. a·to·nal·i·ties Music
1. The absence of a tonal center and of harmonies derived from a diatonic scale corresponding to such a center; lack of tonality.
2. A style of composition that lacks such a tonal center and its derived harmonies.


(ˌeɪtəʊˈnælɪtɪ; ˌæ-)
1. (Music, other) absence of or disregard for an established musical key in a composition
2. (Music, other) the principles of composition embodying this and providing a radical alternative to the diatonic system


(ˌeɪ toʊˈnæl ɪ ti)

music composed without reference to traditional tonality and employing the chromatic pitches on a free and equal basis.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.atonality - the absence of a keyatonality - the absence of a key; alternative to the diatonic system
musical notation - (music) notation used by musicians
tonality, key - any of 24 major or minor diatonic scales that provide the tonal framework for a piece of music
References in periodicals archive ?
When they banged on a piano, we said they had Schoenberg's genius for atonality.
As Deborah Mawer argues in her compact and insightful new book, American music arrived on the French scene at exactly the right time, as composers including Debussy, Ravel, and Les Six were looking to break from the rigidity of atonality and twelve-tone serialism and establish a musical language free of Austro-German domination.
Pfitzner broadened his attacks in the 1920s to include "Bolshevist" atonality, the "jazz-fox-trot" craze, and the omnipresence of Jewish internationalists.
Kikagaku Moyo's "Stone Garden" shows the band's more experimental side, playing with instrumentation, atonality and mixing resulting in five songs linked by being created under the same process.
In the early 1920's, Schoenberg pushed beyond atonality to invent the 12-tone technique.
They were lucid in the second movement's complex lighter and darker moods which alternate through changing harmonies verging on atonality.
Two documents from 1934 to 1935 unlock the door to Brown's original intervention in the populous arena of Schoenberg scholarship: an understanding of the motivation behind Schoenberg's turn to atonality, or as he called it, the emancipation of dissonance.
From blazing new frontiers with her classical compositions exploring 20th century atonality and dissonant counterpoint to studying American folk music traditions, Crawford Seeger's meaningful musical endeavors shaped a distinctive career and subsequent generations.
The harmony is traditional; no influences of atonality or polytonality can be found.
Poe's unique genius in poetics, one which no critic has observed to this day and which in its early stage of exploration and development was completely original, is that he brought atonality into commanding relief in his effort to capture the subterranean currents and cross-currents of unconscious and pre-conscious desires.
As Picasso and Braque were chopping portrait painting into unrecognizable shapes, Schoenberg and Stravinsky were infusing symphonic music with 12-tone atonality.