microtonality

microtone

[mahy-kruh-tohn]
noun
any musical interval smaller than a semitone, specifically, a quarter tone.

Origin:
1915–20; micro- + tone

microtonal, adjective
microtonality, noun
microtonally, adverb
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World English Dictionary
microtone (ˈmaɪkrəʊˌtəʊn)
 
n
any musical interval smaller than a semitone
 
micro'tonal
 
adj
 
microto'nality
 
n
 
micro'tonally
 
adv

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica
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microtonality

music using tones in intervals that differ from the standard semitones (half steps) of a tuning system or scale. In the division of the octave established by the tuning system used on the piano, equal temperament, the smallest interval (e.g., between B and C, F and F, A and A) is the semitone, an interval also measured as 100 cents. There are thus 12 equal semitones, or 1,200 cents, to the octave; these in sequence constitute the chromatic scale. Western tuning systems that were more common before about 1700 divided the octave into semitones of varying size

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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