Definition of note cluster in US English:

note cluster


  • A chord containing a number of closely adjacent notes.

    Also called tone cluster
    • ‘For any vocalization to be regarded as a note cluster, we had to be able to detect at least two notes ranging from 300 Hz to 1400 Hz (low-voice notes) and two notes ranging from 1500 Hz to 13000 Hz (high-voice notes).’
    • ‘The harmonies are loose, ambiguous; sometimes sunny, major tonalities peek through to be subverted by dense note clusters that flirt with dissonance.’
    • ‘Students must learn to listen ‘horizontally’ in order to follow melody or rhythm, and ‘vertically’ so as to separate mentally the various sounds that combine to form a chord or note cluster.’
    • ‘Yet I have to say that its rigorous and intransigent atonal style with a preponderance of chromatic note clusters and major seventh and minor ninth intervals now seems outworn, its initial impact long dissipated.’
    • ‘The crunchy note clusters suddenly sound lovely and discordant (and quite heavy for me, actually) and the higher break part suddenly takes on a strange shimmer.’