Meaning of semitone in English:


Pronunciation /ˈsɛmɪtəʊn/

Translate semitone into Spanish


British Music
  • The smallest interval used in classical Western music, equal to a twelfth of an octave or half a tone.

    Also called half step

    ‘Smaller intervals were derived on the same principles, so that the octave could eventually be marked out into tones and semitones which might be combined to form other intervals.’
    • ‘The subject is almost all semitones, this time expressing yearning and anticipation, rather than sorrow.’
    • ‘I remember being particularly horrified at the drop of a semitone on the word ‘Dona’.’
    • ‘If the given key is not so advantageous to the singer we may end up playing the work a semitone lower, which makes a great improvement.’
    • ‘By the end of ‘Cromosomi’, with its tricky harmonic sequence that descends in semitones, he had the audience in the palm of his hand.’