Re: A note on notes (Chris Chambers )

Subject: Re: A note on notes
From:    Chris Chambers  <chris.chambers(at)SCI.MONASH.EDU.AU>
Date:    Fri, 11 May 2001 08:53:14 +1000

> This is an Americanism -- possibly from deriving from the influence of the > German "ton" -- hence the use of "12-tone music" in the US and "12-note > music" in the UK. I agree that it would be helpful to distinguish the sound > from the printed symbol, but in British English the term "tone" refers to an > interval (equal to two semitones, American "whole-tone"), so this seems an > undesirable way to draw this distinction for speakers of British English. I just checked the oxford english dictionary, and one of the definitions of tone is: "A musical or vocal sound considered with reference to its quality, as acute or grave, sweet or harsh, loud or soft, clear or dull." which appears to refer not to an interval but to single sound. So it looks as though it can refer to both intervals and single sounds in British English. Also, don't Americans also use the word 'tone' to refer to both an interval and a single sound? (I have seen the words "semi-tone" and "tone" etc. used to refer to intervals in American journals.) So is it really an Americanism? -Chris

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