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n. Music
A series of four diatonic tones encompassing the interval of a perfect fourth.

[Greek tetrakhordon, from neuter of tetrakhordos, four-stringed : tetra-, tetra- + khordē, string; see gherə- in Indo-European roots.]

tet′ra·chor′dal (-kôr′dl) adj.
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.


(Music, other) (in musical theory, esp of classical Greece) any of several groups of four notes in descending order, in which the first and last notes form a perfect fourth
[C17: from Greek tetrakhordos four-stringed, from tetra- + khordē a string]
ˌtetraˈchordal adj
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈtɛ trəˌkɔrd)

a diatonic series of four tones, the first and last separated by a perfect fourth.
[1595–1605; < Greek tetráchordos having four strings. See tetra-, chord1]
tet`ra•chor′dal, adj.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
I personally have a more limited taste for flat-VII and descending tetrachord bass lines, but I've taught enough intermediate students to appreciate a harmonic idiom that will get kids practicing.
Using the notes from the inferior tetrachord, the melody then passes the limit of the pentachordna--KE (re-la)--to take the plunge as we have already mentioned, to the 3rd step in the acute register, a fragment which insists on the word "heaven" but also is an attempt to join together heaven and earth.
47," in In the Process of Becoming: Analytic and Philosophical Perspectives on Form in Early Nineteenth-Century Music [New York: Oxford University Press, 2011], 87-111); Robert Gauldin ("Beethoven's Interrupted Tetrachord and the Seventh Symphony," Integral 5 [1991]: 77-100); Nicholas Marston (Beethoven's Piano Sonata in E, Op.
Carter often seems to take the mimetic-expressive model as an uncontested given, the more easily to focus on the elaboration of rhythmic ratios or the deployment of favorite devices such as the all-trichord hexachord or all-interval tetrachord. (Do the flutes and alto flute in "Metamorphosis" really need to move at three separate speeds in a ratio of 4:5:6 just to imitate the gusting of the wind?) A result of absorption in the arcana of order is that Carter's vocal writing sometimes suffers from stiffness or awkwardness despite the remarkable suppleness he often achieves within the rhythmic framework he imposes on himself.
In this work he also developed a theory of chromatic progressions (those in which a melody proceeds directly from, say, C-natural to C-sharp), adapting earlier melodic theories to the musical realities of his day, and expounded a theory of modes in plainchant (predecessors of present-day major and minor keys) based on pentachord and tetrachord species (arrays respectively of five and of four consecutive pitches); his doctrine of modes became the basis of later such theories applicable to both plainchant and polyphony.
Venice (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003); Ellen Rosand, "The Descending Tetrachord: An Emblem of Lament," Musical Quarterly 65 (July 1979): 346-59.
This can be replaced by DISJUNCT TETRACHORD, an uncapitalized term from Webster's Third.
Tomlinson, after Foucault, draws a line between resemblance and representation as separate categories: the one betokens an affinity between the madrigalism and the word prompting it; the other, a musical idea that is autonomous, albeit indicative of a certain emotion or thought or state, as, say, a descending tetrachord that, by a consensual decision reached by composers, was widely utilized as an emblem of lament.
Falco also built a tetrachord to make the tuning of harpsichords and organs easier, as will be discussed below.
The five full tones of the octave are articulated by two overlapping subsystems, the triad (I, III, V) and two tetrachords (I, IV and V, VIII).(4) This splits the scale at two main interstices, one after the triad at the fifth, and the other after the first tetrachord at the fourth.
In chapter 3, Traut establishes his analytical framework, which he bases largely on the four recurring elements: RE 1 is a repeated-note gesture and a lower-neighbor gesture; RE 2 is a descending stepwise [0135] tetrachord; RE 3 is a [0147] tetrachord used in both harmonic and melodic contexts; and RE 4 is an ascending stepwise bass line that provides contrapuntal motion against RE 2.
Only the gentle breeze compatible with the double tetrachord of Papadiamantopoulos' stanza.