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Related to diatonic: Diatonic semitone


1. of, relating to, or based upon any scale of five tones and two semitones produced by playing the white keys of a keyboard instrument, esp the natural major or minor scales forming the basis of the key system in Western music
2. not involving the sharpening or flattening of the notes of the major or minor scale nor the use of such notes as modified by accidentals



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.


Katuar, 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.
References in periodicals archive ?
NEARLY THIRTY YEARS AGO, an alternative basis for the derivation of the Western diatonic scale was proposed by Budden (1972), and developed more recently by Balzano (1980).
It is more likely that, as in Agricola's Musica instrumentalis deudsch (Wittenberg, 1529), only a diatonic progression would be given, or else, like Ganassi's La Fontegara (Venice, 1535), chromatic alteration would be introduced in a diatonic framework.
Inspirational gospel singers make use of the mixolydian scale to complement the diatonic, pentatonic, and blues scales.
The piano answers with a chord paralleling its original chord in measure 2: F[MUSCAL NOTES NOT REPRODUCIBLE] and G[MUSCAL NOTES NOT REPRODUCIBLE] are doubled in the same register as the flute; B and A[MUSCAL NOTES NOT REPRODUCIBLE] are also present, and the chord forms a diatonic collection.
Over the next few months, Hawkins discovered three more geometric theorems, all involving diatonic ratios arising from the ratios of areas of circles, among various crop-circle patterns (see diagrams).
No significant relationships regarding tetrachords or hexachords appear in the associative harmony, but the dyadic content offers even more diatonic references.
without challenging the pre-existing, letter-based diatonic order" (p.
They are arranged in each unit by a focus on rhythm or pitch, focusing on a specific musical device, and moving from diatonic and chromatic techniques to twentieth century ones.
By comparison Missa parvula, for unison treble (or soprano) voices and organ, is much simpler and relatively diatonic in a major-minor sort of way.
Diatonic Chamber Choir, made up of about 20 singers, will present Springtime in Italy - the Splendours of Italian Baroque at a concert at St Nicholas Church Warwick.
The sliding scale of the "seven steps" of diatonic modality to be presented here provides one mea ns of getting a broad handle on much of this literature.
The mood is sombre, perhaps reflecting wartime, and there are personal fingerprints arising from the way in which diatonic norms are violated, as in Prokofiev.