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Related to diatonic: Diatonic semitone
a seven-tone system, all of whose tones can be located in perfect fifths. The medieval modes and natural modes, including the common Ionian mode (natural major) and Aeolian mode (natural minor), are all strictly diatonic.
Modes and modal formations that may be treated as a part of the diatonic scale—the pentatonic system, the medieval hexachords, and a number of tetrachords and trichords—are also diatonic. All such modes consist only of whole tones and semitones. Any intervals or chords that can be formed from the tones of diatonic modes are also considered diatonic.
The diatonic system is the foundation of European modal folk and professional music. In a wider sense, any modes that do not include chromatics (the raising or lowering of the basic tones of the scale) are categorized diatonic. There are both conventional diatonic modes (the harmonic and melodic minor and major) and modified diatonic modes. In several of these modes there are augmented seconds, as well as whole tones and semitones.
Nondiatonic elements are formed not only by the use of chromaticism but also by mixing various diatonic elements simultaneously and sequentially (polydiatonics). The modal harmonic work of contemporary composers is often polydiatonic.
REFERENCESKatuar, G. L. Teoreticheskii kurs garmonii, part 1. Moscow, 1924.
Sokhor, A. “O prirode i vyrazitel’nykh vozmozhnostiakh diatoniki.” In the collection Voprosy teorii i estetiki muzyki, fasc. 4. Moscow-Leningrad, 1965.
Tiulin, Iu. N. Uchenie o garmonii, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1966.
Pereverzev, N. Problemy muzykal’nogo intonirovaniia. Moscow, 1966.
Sposobin, I. V. Lektsii po kursu garmonii. Moscow, 1969.
Berkov, V. O. Garmoniia, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1970.
Vincent, J. The Diatonic Modes in Modern Music. Berkeley-Los Angeles, 1951.