Definition of Tonality

1. Noun. Any of 24 major or minor diatonic scales that provide the tonal framework for a piece of music.

Exact synonyms: Key
Generic synonyms: Musical Notation
Specialized synonyms: Major Key, Major Mode, Minor Key, Minor Mode, Home Key, Tonic Key
Derivative terms: Key, Tonal
Antonyms: Atonality

Definition of Tonality

1. n. The principle of key in music; the character which a composition has by virtue of the key in which it is written, or through the family relationship of all its tones and chords to the keynote, or tonic, of the whole.

Definition of Tonality

1. Noun. (music) The system of seven tones built on a tonic key; the 24 major and minor scales. ¹

2. Noun. (music) A sound of specific pitch and quality; timbre. ¹

3. Noun. (music) The quality of all the tones in a composition heard in relation to the tonic. ¹

4. Noun. The interrelation of the tones in a painting. ¹

¹ Source:

Definition of Tonality

1. a system of tones [n -TIES]

Tonality Pictures

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Lexicographical Neighbors of Tonality

ton mile
ton of refrigeration
tonal center
tonal language
tonal pattern
tonal system
tonality (current term)
tonca bean
tonca beans

Literary usage of Tonality

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

1. The Encyclopedia Americana: A Library of Universal Knowledge (1920)
"tonality, in music, the character and quality of tone. Good tonality demands: correctness of pitch, the production of sounds slightly out of tune being ..."

2. Trouvères and Troubadours: A Popular Treatise by Pierre Aubry (1914)
"And, indeed, they tell us nothing about the tonality of secular music, either in discant or in the songs of the troubadours and trouveres, a deficiency ..."

3. Harvard Psychological Studies by Harvard Psychological Laboratory (1913)
"Tested upon the interval of the minor third (5:6)—no tonality having been previously supplied— these observers uniformly judged the ending on the lower tone ..."

4. Ancient Scotish Melodies, from a Manuscript of the Reign of King James VI by William Dauney (1838)
"Why, by first ascertaining the great leading features of our music, and keeping these untouched;—by preserving the ancient tonality in such tunes as are ..."

5. The Philosophy of Music: Being the Substance of a Course of Lectures by William Pole (1895)
"At any rate, when the two elements of tonality and of measured time and rhythm were ... Assuming the general requisites of scale, tonality, and rhythm to be ..."

6. The Elements of Plainsong: Compiled from a Series of Lectures Delivered by Henry Bremridge Briggs (1895)
"The tonality of a scale, mode, or melody is that peculiar flavour which attaches to it, and is derived from the mutual relationship of the notes which ..."

7. Practical Harmony on a French Basis by Homer Albert Norris (1894)
"tonality. By tonality is meant a succession of tones, either melodic or harmonic, sufficiently long to clearly establish a certain key. ..."

8. Camera (1907)
"We regret that the half-tone process will not permit us to show the beautiful tonality in the ... tonality ..."

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