Definition of monochord in English:


Pronunciation /ˈmänəˌkôrd/ /ˈmɑnəˌkɔrd/


  • An instrument for comparing musical pitches mathematically, using a taut wire whose vibrating length can be adjusted with a movable bridge.

    ‘The original Trautonium was essentially a monophonic instrument: Indeed, it could be described as a state of the art descendant of the Pythagorean monochord - a wire stretched across a fingerboard.’
    • ‘The clavichord was, in effect, a series of monochords placed in a single box, and it was called monochordia (manicorde, etc.) by many 15th and 16th-century writers.’
    • ‘This experience led to early experiments with a wooden bread board, nails and some wire, creating a primitive monochord.’
    • ‘It is a physical concept, on the physical difference between the human singing voice, and a monochord, which gives various tones by touching.’
    • ‘In the forest, the blind prince made a primitive monochord and began to wander from village to village singing for money.’


Late Middle English from Old French monacorde, via late Latin from Greek monokhordon, neuter (used as a noun) of monokhordos ‘having a single string’.