so·​nor·​i·​ty | \ sə-ˈnȯr-ə-tē How to pronounce sonority (audio) , -ˈnär- \
plural sonorities

Definition of sonority

1 : the quality or state of being sonorous : resonance
2 : a sonorous tone or speech
3 phonetics : the perceptibility or distinctness of speech sounds when spoken in a context in which stress, pitch, and sound duration are constant vowels possessing greater sonority than consonants

Examples of sonority in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Though there is plenty of content, the manipulation of sonorities drives the music. New York Times, "Review: 19 Female Composers Start to Mark a Century of Suffrage," 6 Feb. 2020 Throughout, three sopranos (Eliza Bagg, Martha Cluver and Estelí Gomez) sing wordless lyrical fragments and soft sonorities, lending an eerily angelic touch. New York Times, "Review: At the Philharmonic, New Music for a Changing World," 21 Feb. 2020 Bent and sliding pitches, other worldly textures and novel sonorities have been central to her musical vocabularies, elements of East and West intermingling in compelling ways. Howard Reich,, "Chicago composer Wang Lu links cultures through music with ‘Code Switch’," 30 Sep. 2019 Conductor Storgards deserves credit for bringing forth the textural lucidity of what followed, ensuring that the winds, for instance, were unmistakably distinct from the rest of the orchestral sonority. Howard Reich,, "CSO review: A dynamic debut from violinist Ray Chen," 6 Dec. 2019 Salonen elicited eerily beautiful sonorities from Weill’s strange orchestration—for example, a slow-motion, proto-minimalist shimmer of winds in the third movement. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "The L.A. Philharmonic Revisits the Weimar Republic," 9 Mar. 2020 Throughout, the 13-minute work impressed with deft part writing and handling of sonorities. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "Exciting singing — maybe too consistently so — from the Santa Fe Desert Chorale," 2 Mar. 2020 Elements of atonality and sturdy diatonic harmony and moments of fleeting lyricism and blazing sonorities often merge or clash. New York Times, "Christopher Rouse, Composer of Rage and Delicacy, Dies at 70," 23 Sep. 2019 The Spaniard has steadily populated the Latin charts, captivating the industry with her flamenco genre-bending sonority and stylistic musical collision making the 26-year-old a trailblazer of the genre. Pamela Bustios, Billboard, "The Year in Latin Charts 2019: Bad Bunny Is Year's Top Artist, Owns Top Album & Song," 5 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sonority.' 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 sonority

circa 1623, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of sonority was circa 1623

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Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sonority.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2020.

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