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Tetrachord (from Gk. tetra: ‘four’; chordē: ‘lyre string’)locked

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(1) In ancient Greek theory (see Greece, §I), a system of four notes, contained within the limits of a perfect 4th. It serves as a basis for melodic construction in much the same way as the Hexachord functions in medieval polyphony and the major and minor scales in tonal music. Essentially tetrachords fall into three types, or genera, according to the size of the intervals between their notes: diatonic, chromatic and enharmonic. Reckoned upwards, the diatonic genus comprises the intervals semitone–tone–tone; the chromatic genus is based on the succession semitone–semitone–minor 3rd; the enharmonic genus is built on the intervals quarter-tone–quarter-tone–major 3rd. In medieval theory (for example in ...

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