Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Grove Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 25 August 2019

Quarter-tone (Fr. quart de ton; Ger. Viertelton; It. quarto di tono)locked

  • Julian Rushton

Extract

(Fr. quart de tonGer. VierteltonIt. quarto di tono)

An interval half the size of a semitone. The term was used by some 17th- and 18th-century theorists to denote the distance between a sharp and enharmonically distinct flat in mean-tone temperaments (e.g. D♯–E♭). In most contexts, however, it refers to an interval of of an octave, or 50 cents.

Quarter-tones form part of the enharmonic genus of ancient Greek music theory (see Greece §I, and Diesis); they have also been discussed in the context of medieval plainsong (see Gmelch), and were considered by Hothby in the late 15th century (see Reaney) and by Coprario in the early 17th (see Field). Interest in them increased steadily during the 19th and 20th centuries. The ‘Aphorismen’ of Heinrich Richter, published in 1823 under the pseudonym ‘Amadeus Autodidactos’, ventured to propogate quarter-tone music, and Johanna Kinkel urged the emancipation of the interval in her essay of 1853. The Russian futurist painter Mikhail Matyushin (...

Access to the complete content on Grove Music Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.

Archiv für Musikwissenschaft
Musical Quarterly
Revue belge de musicologie
Sovetskaya muzïka
Musical Times