: of, relating to, or being serial music utilizing the 12 chromatic tones

Examples of twelve-tone in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Notable modernists include Virginia Woolf (stream-of-consciousness novels), Pablo Picasso (cubism), Arnold Schoenberg (twelve-tone technique), and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (International Style architecture). Hazlitt, 10 Apr. 2024 The First Quartet precedes Schoenberg’s break from tonality; the Third is from his twelve-tone period. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 11 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'twelve-tone.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1926, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of twelve-tone was in 1926

Dictionary Entries Near twelve-tone

Cite this Entry

“Twelve-tone.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/twelve-tone. Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!