Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Music Of, relating to, or involving tones that are identical in pitch but are written differently according to the key in which they occur, as C sharp and D flat, for example.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Describing two or more identical notes that are written differently when in different keys
  • adj. Of or pertaining to a tetrachord

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to that one of the three kinds of musical scale (diatonic, chromatic, enharmonic) recognized by the ancient Greeks, which consisted of quarter tones and major thirds, and was regarded as the most accurate.
  • adj.
  • adj. Pertaining to a change of notes to the eye, while, as the same keys are used, the instrument can mark no difference to the ear, as the substitution of A♭ for G♯.
  • adj. Pertaining to a scale of perfect intonation which recognizes all the notes and intervals that result from the exact tuning of diatonic scales and their transposition into other keys.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In Greek music, pertaining to that genus or scale that is distinguished from the diatonic and the chromatic by the use of intervals of less than a semitone.
  • In modern music: Pertaining to a scale or an instrument using smaller intervals than a semitone.
  • Pertaining to a use of notes which, though differing in name and in position on the staff, refer on instruments of fixed intonation, like the pianoforte, to identical keys or tones; thus are enharmonically distinct, but practically identical.

Etymologies

Late Latin enharmonicus, from Greek enarmonios : en-, in; see en-2 + harmoniā, harmony; see harmony.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • There are three classes of modes: first, that which the Greeks term the enharmonic; second, the chromatic; third, the diatonic.

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  • F# and Gb are enharmonic, that is, they are the same note but spelled differently.

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  • Since the second waltz is in the key of C-sharp minor, the "Minute" waltz contrasts by being in the enharmonic parallel major key D-flat major.

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  • The use of the diatonic genus is also apropriate for an ethos of moderation because it avoids the more extreme emotions assiciated with the chromatic and enharmonic genera.

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  • Archytas also defined scales in the two other major genera, the enharmonic and chromatic.

    Archytas

  • This treatise began with a discussion of the basic principles of acoustics (B1), defined the three types of mean which are of importance in music theory (B2), and went on to present Archytas 'mathematical descriptions of the tetrachord (the fourth) in the three main genera (chromatic, diatonic, and enharmonic - A16-A19).

    Archytas

  • Archytas 'enharmonic tetrachord is composed of the intervals 5: 4, 36: 35 and 28: 27 and his chromatic tetrachord of the intervals 32: 27, 243: 224, and 28: 27.

    Archytas

  • The ratios in Archytas 'diatonic and enharmonic tetrachords are indeed superparticular, but two of the ratios in his chromatic tetrachord are not superparticular (32: 27 and 243: 224).

    Archytas

  • Archytas influenced the Sectio Canonis, since Proposition 3 is based on a proof by Archytas (A19), but the treatise cannot be by Archytas, because its theory of pitch and its account of the diatonic and enharmonic tetrachords differ from those of Archytas.

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  • In each case, the button is labelled with the correct spelling of the enharmonic note.

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