Definition of intonation in English:

intonation

noun

mass noun
  • 1The rise and fall of the voice in speaking.

    ‘she spoke English with a German intonation’
    • ‘Participants are judged based on the timing of the speech, voice intonation and gestures.’
    • ‘Chinese is a tonal language: words are differentiated not just by sounds but by whether the intonation is rising or falling.’
    • ‘Through focusing on the speed, intonation, and dynamics of utterance, each story can be much richer in meaning.’
    • ‘The voice is a little colourless in its lower register, compensated by a bright tone in the middle of his voice, and meticulous intonation.’
    • ‘The system transfers the most pissed to an operator, by analyzing variables such as voice intonation and speech patterns.’
    • ‘Your delivery, intonation, diction and fluency are all wrong, and you remind me of someone who hangs about on street corners, opening your jacket and trying to sell people things.’
    • ‘The accent and intonation were near perfect, and there was no sign of affected or artificial delivery.’
    • ‘But the quandary remains: if inflection and intonation are a natural part of speaking, what are we to do with them when sacred texts are read?’
    • ‘You should speak it well, complete with the right pronunciation and intonation.’
    • ‘However, the cues for this frame are subtle features in intonation and voice quality, which may be particularly difficult for candidates from non-English speaking backgrounds to pick up on.’
    • ‘His intonation and faux-elitist accent made the dialogue much more amusing.’
    • ‘Obvious differences do persist, particularly in accent and intonation, but the idea of the thick-accented, barely intelligible Paddy is anachronistic.’
    • ‘Her intonation is rising throughout, partly due to the presence of so many questions and exclamations, but also because the lines follow on each other so rapidly.’
    • ‘He plays multiple characters, simultaneously, in bizarre sketches without using dialogue and relies only on body language and voice intonation.’
    • ‘It was at those times that I felt most privileged to be on the inside, leaning on every syllable and intonation of his voice.’
    • ‘Yet in James's African-American community, rising intonation conveys the desire for encouragement.’
    • ‘On the other hand, they were superb ‘readers’ of voices, intonation, inflection, fear, evasion, demand.’
    • ‘It was in her voice, her intonation, the places she paused.’
    • ‘Yeah, it's not a question, but rising intonation makes it one.’
    • ‘The training must include intense and particular attention to pronunciation, intonation and enunciation.’
    inflection, pitch, tone, timbre, cadence, cadency, lilt, rise and fall, modulation, speech pattern
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The action of intoning or reciting in a singing voice.
      chanting, incantation, recitation, singing
      View synonyms
  • 2Accuracy of pitch in playing or singing, or on a stringed instrument such as a guitar.

    ‘poor woodwind intonation at the opening’
    • ‘This album is very natural sounding, with 12 pure singers who have remarkable accuracy of intonation, performing traditional arrangements.’
    • ‘The Arcadians are one of Oxford's best chamber choirs, capable of tackling this monumentally difficult piece supported by impressive intonation, articulation and stylistic awareness.’
    • ‘The horn keeps everybody honest in their intonation.’
    • ‘Such features as pitch or intonation, rhythm and tone are the first elements to be distinguishable.’
    • ‘The ‘Salve regina’ for soprano and organ is a gorgeous little thing that could melt hearts in any church service (notwithstanding the iffy intonation from the soloist here).’
    • ‘She encompassed the bold leaps and wide range of the vocal part splendidly - always singing with strongly focused tone and perfect intonation.’
    • ‘His bass solo is characteristically creative and displays wonderful intonation and tone.’
    • ‘She's got a good kid voice - true intonation, natural phrasing.’
    • ‘The pitch, intonation, and speed of his voice are all over the map and make every bit of dialogue and catchphrase either hilarious or an assault on your eardrums.’
    • ‘Characteristic is his perfect intonation and breath management as well as excellent phrasing and imaginative use of ornaments when he confronts difficult trills head-on.’
    • ‘The Largo is done broadly and is less nostalgic than tragic; some suspect intonation from the wind choir reduces the music's power somewhat.’
    • ‘Her voice is annoyingly reedy, with a fast vibrato and intonation slightly under pitch.’
    • ‘Yet Western listeners are not noticeable disturbed by the pitch intonation of professional performers.’
    • ‘Her virtues - precise intonation, fabulous musicianship, particularly in the Ariettes - nevertheless come through.’
    • ‘It also provides a fine-tuning parameter for more accurate intonation of a sample at a particular pitch level.’
    • ‘Textural clarity requires rhythmic precision, knowing the important line at any point in the score, dead-on intonation, and the ability to sing lightly and incisively at the same time.’
    • ‘The unaccompanied choir responds to the sincerity of the music with impeccable ensemble and intonation.’
    • ‘Don't start with the Second or Third Concertos, which are marred by sour intonation from the French musicians.’
    • ‘It has to have a certain sophistication and different levels and perspectives of quality - sound, balancing of voices, ensemble, intonation, and the same excitement as the live performance.’
    • ‘The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is best in the strings; wind intonation can be iffy, but the playing has personality throughout.’
  • 3The opening phrase of a plainsong melody.

Origin

Early 17th century (in intonation (sense 3)): from medieval Latin intonatio(n-), from intonare (see intone).

Pronunciation

intonation

/ɪntəˈneɪʃ(ə)n/