/en'hahr mon"ik/, adj. Music.
having the same pitch in the tempered scale but written in different notation, as G sharp and A flat.
[1590-1600; < LL enharmonicus < Gk enarmónios (-icus r. -ios), equiv. to en- EN-1 + harmoní(a) HARMONY + -os adj. suffix]

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      in the system of equal temperament tuning used on keyboard instruments, two tones that sound the same but are notated (spelled) differently. Pitches such as F♯ and G♭ are said to be enharmonic equivalents; both are sounded with the same key on a keyboard instrument. The same is true of intervals, which are always named according to their notation: A♭–F♯ is an augmented sixth, while A♭–G♭ and G♯–F♯ are both minor sevenths; all are enharmonically equivalent. C♯ major (which has a key signature with seven sharps) and D♭ major (with five flats) are enharmonically the same key; D♭ major is considered easier to read and thus is much more commonly used than C♯ major. Enharmonic tones and intervals are often components of pivot chords in modulation (change of key), especially if the composer is changing from a key notated in flats to one notated in sharps (or vice versa).

      In earlier systems of tuning, such as just intonation and meantone temperament, the pitch of enharmonic tones was not identical; C♯ sounded lower than D♭ by about one-fifth of a tone. Players of wind and string instruments are constantly aware of intonational differences, especially when these require different fingering. For instance, on stringed instruments, the note A♭ moving to G is perceptibly lower than G♯ moving to A.

Mark DeVoto

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Enharmonic — En har*mon ic ([e^]n h[.a]r*m[o^]n [i^]k), Enharmonical En har*mon ic*al ([e^]n h[.a]r*m[o^]n [i^]*kal), a. [Gr. enarmoniko s, enarmo nios fitting, accordant; en in + armoni a harmony: cf. F. enharmonique.] 1. (Anc. Mus.) Of or pertaining to that …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • enharmonic — [en΄här män′ik] adj. [L enharmonicus < Gr enarmonikos: see EN 1 & HARMONY] in equal temperament, designating or of tones, as C♯ and D♭, that are identical in pitch but are written differently according to the key in which each occurs:… …   English World dictionary

  • enharmonic — англ. [инхамо/ник] enharmonique фр. [анармони/к] enharmonisch нем. [энхармо/ниш] энгармонический …   Словарь иностранных музыкальных терминов

  • enharmonic — c.1600, from L.L. enharmonicus, from Gk. enharmonikos, from en (see EN (Cf. en ) (2)) + harmonikos (see HARMONIC (Cf. harmonic)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Enharmonic — In modern music and notation, an enharmonic equivalent is a note (enharmonic tone), interval (enharmonic interval), or key signature which is equivalent to some other note, interval, or key signature, but spelled , or named, differently. Thus,… …   Wikipedia

  • enharmonic — adjective Etymology: French enharmonique, from Middle French, of a scale employing quarter tones, from Greek enarmonios, from en in + harmonia harmony, scale Date: 1794 of, relating to, or being notes that are written differently (as A flat and G …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • enharmonic — adjective a) Describing two or more identical notes that are written differently when in different keys b) Of or pertaining to a tetrachord …   Wiktionary

  • enharmònic — en|har|mò|nic Mot Pla Adjectiu variable …   Diccionari Català-Català

  • enharmonic — adj. relating to tones that are identical in pitch but are written differently according to the key in which they occur (Music) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • enharmonic — [ˌɛnhα: mɒnɪk] adjective Music relating to notes which are the same in pitch (in modern tuning) though bearing different names (e.g. F sharp and G flat). ↘of or having intervals smaller than a semitone (e.g. between notes such as F sharp and G… …   English new terms dictionary

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