ton·​al | \ ˈtō-nᵊl How to pronounce tonal (audio) \

Definition of tonal

1 : of or relating to tone, tonality, or tonicity
2 : having tonality

Other Words from tonal

tonally \ ˈtō-​nᵊl-​ē How to pronounce tonal (audio) \ adverb

Examples of tonal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But the individual installments feel too baggy and unfocused, with too many jarring tonal shifts and too little sense of narrative rhythm, to amount to much insight in the end. Angie Han, The Hollywood Reporter, 23 Apr. 2022 At the same time, the film’s narrative loses significant emotional impact via tonal inconsistencies. Jeff Ewing, Forbes, 11 Nov. 2021 With her smooth vocals and introspective lyrics, Aalegra was a tonal shift from the festival’s high octane headliners and her performance provided a soulful interlude that resonated with the audience in Indio, California. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, 28 Apr. 2022 And Chinese, unlike Korean or Japanese, is a tonal language; some way of conveying tones is necessary. Ian Buruma, The New Yorker, 10 Jan. 2022 Mandarin has a reputation for being a difficult language to learn for native English speakers, particularly because of its varied tonal pronunciation. Tracy Brownstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 13 Apr. 2022 To offset the tonal vibes, Lizzo finished her look with white sneakers. Jake Smith, Glamour, 13 Apr. 2022 Even composer Terry Truck’s score is less babbling, more tonal and truly ripe with contemporary music passages in league with what’s happening on stage. A.d. Amorosi, Variety, 11 Apr. 2022 At a concert at Disney, a week later, the singers heightened that shift with a subtle but palpable increase of tonal warmth—another case of precision yielding wonder. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 11 Apr. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of tonal

1776, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tonal

tone entry 1 + -al entry 1

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Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tonal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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