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Related to polytonality: sprechstimme, tone cluster


Simultaneous use of two or more tonalities in a musical composition.

pol′y·to′nal (-tō′nəl) adj.
pol′y·to′nal·ly adv.


(ˌpɒlɪtəʊˈnælɪtɪ) or


(Music, other) music the simultaneous use of more than two different keys or tonalities
ˌpolyˈtonal adj
ˌpolyˈtonally adv
ˌpolyˈtonalist n


(ˌpɒl i toʊˈnæl ɪ ti)

also pol•y•ton•al•ism

(-ˈtoʊn lˌɪz əm)

the simultaneous use of two or more musical tonalities.
pol`y•ton′al•ist, n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.polytonality - music that uses two or more different keys at the same time
music - an artistic form of auditory communication incorporating instrumental or vocal tones in a structured and continuous manner
References in periodicals archive ?
There are some adventurous sounds and techniques, although used sparingly: modality, black-key forearm clusters, whole-tone scales and one brief instance of polytonality.
symphony, concerto, counterpoint, motivic development) while employing an expanded, flexible conception of tonality (including polytonality and pandiatonicism) that frequently resulted in high levels of dissonance.
The harmony is traditional; no influences of atonality or polytonality can be found.
Ardevol's compositions are characterized by polytonality, rhythmic complexity, serialism, and neoclassicism.
Kavallaris comments on the piece's composition by saying "the piece uses a kind of polytonality and harmonic treatment of the traditional melodies which are drawn out from Cyprus' musical tradition, and besides, the piece follows the strophic character of the traditional songs.
6, a quirky, percussive and mercurial composition that demands not only fierce technical prowess but an incisive understanding of the composer's polytonality, dissonance and chromaticism as it applies to this, the first of his three "War Sonatas.
contrasting pronunciations accentuate the perplexing polytonality that
Though George did encourage Charles to experiment with polytonality, microtones, atonality, and rhythmic complexity, it is important to remember that George also taught his son traditional harmony and voice leading, and even attempted to write a harmony book.
They are at once in the atmosphere of several tonalities, without polytonality, the composer being free to give predominance to one of the tonalities or to leave the tonal impression unsettled.
The French composer is a lanis Xenakis protege and the difficult score shows the Greek master's influence in its polytonality, leaping intervals, shifting rhythms, ultra-high solo bassoon a la Le Sacre du Printemps and amplified breaths from the singers ping-ponging around the room in surround sound.