Definition of Tonal

1. Adjective. Employing variations in pitch to distinguish meanings of otherwise similar words. "Chinese is a tonal language"

Exact synonyms: Tonic
Partainyms: Tone, Tone
Derivative terms: Tone, Tone

2. Adjective. Having tonality; i.e. tones and chords organized in relation to one tone such as a keynote or tonic.
Category relationships: Music
Similar to: Keyed, Diatonic, Polytonal, Toned, Tonic
Antonyms: Atonal
Derivative terms: Tonality, Tone, Tone

Definition of Tonal

1. Adjective. of or relating to tones or tonality ¹

2. Adjective. (music) employing tones that have a predictable relationship to some tonic ¹

3. Adjective. (linguistics) employing differences in pitch to distinguish differences in the meaning of otherwise similar words ¹

¹ Source:

Definition of Tonal

1. pertaining to tone [adj] : TONALLY [adv]

Tonal Pictures

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Lexicographical Neighbors of Tonal

ton mile
ton of refrigeration
tonal (current term)
tonal center
tonal language
tonal pattern
tonal system

Literary usage of Tonal

Below you will find example usage of this term as found in modern and/or classical literature:

1. The Classical Psychologists: Selections Illustrating Psychology from by Benjamin Rand (1912)
"As the question is here put, it can only be addressed to those who are sufficiently endowed with power of tonal observations to analyze the fifths and ..."

2. Outlines of Psychology, Based Upon the Results of Experimental Investigation by Oswald Külpe (1895)
"The law is, then, that tonal fusion is independent of the absolute intensity ... On the other hand, tonal fusion is to a very considerable extent dependent ..."

3. Outlines of Psychology: Based Upon the Results of Experimental Investigation by Oswald Külpe, Edward Bradford Titchener (1909)
"On the other hand, tonal fusion is to a very considerable extent dependent upon the relative intensity of the components. ..."

4. Outlines of Psychology by Wilhelm Max Wundt, Charles Hubbard Judd (1897)
"When the pitch of the principal tone remains constant, only the second determinant of the tonal quality, the clang-color, can vary according to the number, ..."

5. A Text-book of Psychology by Edward Bradford Titchener (1909)
"It is sometimes said that tonal stimuli are periodic, noise stimuli aperiodic ... But, on the one hand, aperiodic vibrations may produce tonal sensations, ..."

6. A Text-book of psychology by Edward Bradford Titchener (1910)
"tonal Fusions. — The classical instance of the qualitative perception is the ... We get tonal fusion at its purest by sounding together two simple tones at ..."

7. Experimental Psychology: A Manual of Laboratory Practice by Edward Bradford Titchener, ( (1901)
"The Degrees of tonal Fusion. — Suppose that two simple tones are sounded together. The resultant perception (apart from beats and combination - tones) will ..."

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