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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(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
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˌeɪ toʊˈnæl ɪ ti)

music composed without reference to traditional tonality and employing the chromatic pitches on a free and equal basis.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
The songs sound modern, but never approach atonality or serialism." Her compositional palate is wide and varied, offering many lovely art songs in English, with a large representation of stage music reflecting the milieu of postwar England.
When they banged on a piano, we said they had Schoenberg's genius for atonality. They should never have to stay in key or otherwise fit in, of course, because reality is virtual and should bend to their needs.
Attempting to define Poulenc's complex role in modern music, Karol Beffa highlights a rejection of accepted trends (atonality, polytonality) in favor of independent paths, which included nods to modality ("Chanson d'Orkenise" from Banalites) and jazz ("Hotel" from the same cycle).
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.
Where countless methods deal with aspects of Classical or Romantic literature, there is a dearth of pedagogical materials addressing other tonalities of more modern literature such as modal systems and atonality. Current methods addressing modal and post-tonal music are geared at intermediate or advanced students.
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.
Not randomly, "The Raven's" most unique feature consists, speaking in musical terms, in its atonality. "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.