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[te-truh-kawrd] /ˈtɛ trəˌkɔrd/
noun, Music.
a diatonic series of four tones, the first and last separated by a perfect fourth.
1595-1605; < Greek tetráchordos having four strings. See tetra-, chord1
Related forms
tetrachordal, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for tetrachord


(in musical theory, esp of classical Greece) any of several groups of four notes in descending order, in which the first and last notes form a perfect fourth
Derived Forms
tetrachordal, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Greek tetrakhordos four-stringed, from tetra- + khordē a string
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for tetrachord

musical scale of four notes, bounded by the interval of a perfect fourth (an interval the size of two and one-half steps, e.g., c-f). In ancient Greek music the descending tetrachord was the basic unit of analysis, and scale systems (called the Greater Perfect System and the Lesser Perfect System) were formed by joining successive tetrachords. Only the outer notes of each tetrachord were fixed; the position of the inner pitches determined the genus of the tetrachord. The basic form was the diatonic genus (e.g., a-g-f-e); its modifications formed the chromatic (a-f-f-e) and enharmonic (a-f-e+-e, with e+ being a pitch between e and f) genera. The Greek theorist Cleonides (c. 2nd century AD) discusses the tetrachord and its genera.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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