What does atonality mean?

Definitions for atonality
ˌeɪ toʊˈnæl ɪ tiatonal·i·ty

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word atonality.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. atonality, atonalismnoun

    the absence of a key; alternative to the diatonic system


  1. atonalitynoun

    A style of music that is written without a key.

  2. atonalitynoun

    A passage written without a key.


  1. Atonality

    Atonality in its broadest sense is music that lacks a tonal center, or key. Atonality, in this sense, usually describes compositions written from about the early 20th-century to the present day, where a hierarchy of harmonies focusing on a single, central triad is not used, and the notes of the chromatic scale function independently of one another. More narrowly, the term atonality describes music that does not conform to the system of tonal hierarchies that characterized European classical music between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. "The repertory of atonal music is characterized by the occurrence of pitches in novel combinations, as well as by the occurrence of familiar pitch combinations in unfamiliar environments".The term is also occasionally used to describe music that is neither tonal nor serial, especially the pre-twelve-tone music of the Second Viennese School, principally Alban Berg, Arnold Schoenberg, and Anton Webern. However, "as a categorical label, 'atonal' generally means only that the piece is in the Western tradition and is not 'tonal'", although there are longer periods, e.g., medieval, renaissance, and modern modal music to which this definition does not apply. "Serialism arose partly as a means of organizing more coherently the relations used in the pre-serial 'free atonal' music. ... Thus, many useful and crucial insights about even strictly serial music depend only on such basic atonal theory".Late 19th- and early 20th-century composers such as Alexander Scriabin, Claude Debussy, Béla Bartók, Paul Hindemith, Sergei Prokofiev, Igor Stravinsky, and Edgard Varèse have written music that has been described, in full or in part, as atonal.


  1. atonality

    Atonality is a musical term that refers to a composition style that does not adhere to a specific key or tonal center. This means that the music doesn't follow traditional harmonic structures associated with major or minor scales, resulting in a lack of a sense of key or tonal center. It has been a defining feature of many 20th-century classical or art music, such as pieces created by the Second Viennese School's composers.

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How to say atonality in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of atonality in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of atonality in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of atonality in a Sentence

  1. Adamo Macri:

    Suspicion and uneasiness gives an overall mysterious tone or even atonality to a piece, as in object in contention, something I always evaluate. Along with melancholy or disappointment, all of which are valid human emotions and sensitivities.”

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"atonality." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 21 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/atonality>.

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    an attitude of irreverence or contempt for a divinity
    A cazique
    B auspices
    C macron
    D profaneness

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