Definition of atonal in English:



  • Not written in any key or mode.

    ‘atonal music may be written by obscuring tonal structures or by ignoring conventional harmonies altogether’
    • ‘This is an umbrella term for a group of musicians in Japan whose music is primarily atonal, noisy, improvised and loud.’
    • ‘Not one to experiment in the emerging environment of atonal and neo-classical music, his old-fashioned compositions were swept aside well before his death.’
    • ‘In fact, it reminds me very much of Schoenberg's freely atonal music of roughly twenty years previous.’
    • ‘Brecht's words, juxtaposed against Weill's music, with its atonal harmonies and angular lines, venomously satirized the state of affairs.’
    • ‘When the lectures were first delivered, Bernstein's rejection of atonal music deeply offended many avant-garde composers.’
    • ‘Fifty-five years after his death, Anton Webern still leads listeners through a musical underworld where even dodecaphonic and atonal rules simply don't apply.’
    • ‘This commitment to rigorously atonal music, planned and performed as a separate entity from the choreography, is at the core of Cunningham's radicalism.’
    • ‘Why do you think audiences have trouble with modern or atonal classical music?’
    inharmonious, disharmonious, discordant, unmelodious, tuneless, off-key, cacophonous
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