atonal

adjective
aton·​al | \ (ˌ)ā-ˈtō-nᵊl How to pronounce atonal (audio) , (ˌ)a- \

Definition of atonal

: marked by avoidance of traditional musical tonality especially : organized without reference to key or tonal center and using the tones of the chromatic scale impartially

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Other Words from atonal

atonalism \ (ˌ)ā-​ˈtō-​nə-​ˌli-​zəm How to pronounce atonalism (audio) , (ˌ)a-​ \ noun
atonalist \ (ˌ)ā-​ˈtō-​nə-​list How to pronounce atonalist (audio) , (ˌ)a-​ \ noun
atonality \ ˌā-​tō-​ˈna-​lə-​tē How to pronounce atonality (audio) , ˌa-​ \ noun
atonally \ (ˌ)ā-​ˈtō-​nə-​lē How to pronounce atonally (audio) , (ˌ)a-​ \ adverb

Examples of atonal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Also crucial is Murphy's particular knack for using music and color to convey the hothouse longings of her characters; heady metaphors served in the atonal jangle of post punk or the throbbing kaleidoscope of strobe lights at a house party. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, "Australian indie Babyteeth breathes life into terminal illness and teen romance: Review," 17 June 2020 This is part of a broader crisis facing modern (in the non-technical sense), atonal music: A group of styles originally designed to smash conventions and, so it was promised, free up artists have become rigidly conventional. Nicholas M. Gallagher, National Review, "The Vietnam War at the Kentucky Opera," 23 Nov. 2019 There are odd pauses, atonal noises, and the hosts have a question-and-answer patter going that invariably results in a not-quite-credible exclamation, providing clear signposts for the listener to heed a particular moment of revelation. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "The Other Latif and the Radiolab Problem," 26 Mar. 2020 Evgueni and Sacha Galperine’s orchestral score is mostly familiar stuff, except for an entrancing atonal piece midway through the movie that offers a glimpse of a more daring and experimental take on the material. Boyd Van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Persian Lessons': Film Review | Berlin 2020," 4 Mar. 2020 In this 1970 piece, set to the insistent rhythms and atonal lyricism of Alberto Ginastera’s Piano Sonata No. 1, the dancers move with a deeply rooted, grounded quality that feels very much of its time. Roslyn Sulcas, New York Times, "For a Los Angeles Dance Festival, Reviving a Homegrown Modernist," 7 Nov. 2019 One is a grand space opera, with catchy Wagnerian leitmotifs and blaring immensity; the other is atonal and elusive, full of amorphous sound that rarely coalesces into melody. Joshua Barone, New York Times, "‘Psycho’ and ‘Close Encounters’ Roll at the Philharmonic," 10 Sep. 2019 Moreover, the modern music, with its staccato percussion, jarring shifts, and atonal chords (conducted by Steven Crawford), is perfectly suited to underlie this feeling of unease and disorientation. Nicholas M. Gallagher, National Review, "The Vietnam War at the Kentucky Opera," 23 Nov. 2019 First came a short atonal improvisation, just because, Lang explained. Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: L.A. needs a summer music festival. Piano Spheres and Monday Evening Concerts show the way," 30 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'atonal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of atonal

1911, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for atonal

a- entry 2 + tonal

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Time Traveler for atonal

Time Traveler

The first known use of atonal was in 1911

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Statistics for atonal

Last Updated

21 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Atonal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/atonal. Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for atonal

atonal

adjective
How to pronounce atonal (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of atonal

music : not written, played, or sung in a particular key

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