Definition of tone row in English:

tone row


  • A particular sequence of the twelve notes of the chromatic scale used as a basis for twelve-tone (serial) music.

    ‘The effect is heightened by the wide leaps in the violin part; starting on a high C, the music leaps down nearly two octaves to a low D, then to an E flat in between, and so on, till all twelve notes of a tone row have been used.’
    • ‘The composer says that each note of her twelve tone row represents a month.’
    • ‘Its long first movement derives its thematic material from a seven-note chord in the Beethoven 9th Symphony's finale and one formed by Ginastera from the remaining five notes that complete the tone row.’
    • ‘Billed at the time as the longest composition based on a single tone row, though not strictly, this symphony held my rapt attention throughout and ended in what seemed like a satisfying tonal resolution.’
    • ‘The Sonatina is in nine short sections, alternately eerie, fantastical, bleary, somnambulant, focussing sharply or softly as the case may be upon the tone row they all derive from.’


tone row

/tōn rou/ /toʊn raʊ/