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[en-hahr-mon-ik] /ˌɛn hɑrˈmɒn ɪk/
adjective, Music.
having the same pitch in the tempered scale but written in different notation, as G sharp and A flat.
Origin of enharmonic
1590-1600; < Late Latin enharmonicus < Greek enarmónios (-icus replacing -ios), equivalent to en- en-1 + harmoní(a) harmony + -os adj. suffix
Related forms
enharmonically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for enharmonic
Historical Examples
  • In the enharmonic, the tetrachord consists of two tones and two "dieses."

  • The enharmonic, according to Ptolemy, had ceased to be employed.

    The Modes of Ancient Greek Music David Binning Monro
  • It consisted of an air with variations, crowded with enharmonic passages.

    The Violin

    George Dubourg
  • There are three classes of modes: first, that which the Greeks term the enharmonic; second, the chromatic; third, the diatonic.

  • The enharmonic mode is an artistic conception, and therefore execution in it has a specially severe dignity and distinction.

  • The enharmonic principle is almost too predominant,—an element that ought never to be more than occasional.

  • Starting in the key of C, it perpetually modulates, chiefly by enharmonic changes, and finishes by a return to C.


    Charles Francis Abdy Williams
  • Tones in the chromatic or enharmonic modes were named by other letters, and the system was extremely complicated.

  • If the enharmonic C flat were used the chord would then be in its third inversion.

    The So-called Human Race Bert Leston Taylor
  • He desires to abolish temperament by additional keys, and has constructed an enharmonic organ with forty sounds in the octave.

British Dictionary definitions for enharmonic


adjective (music)
denoting or relating to a small difference in pitch between two notes such as A flat and G sharp: not present in instruments of equal temperament such as the piano, but significant in the intonation of stringed and wind instruments
denoting or relating to enharmonic modulation
Derived Forms
enharmonically, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Latin enharmonicus, from Greek enarmonios, from en-² + harmonia; see harmony
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for enharmonic

c.1600, from Late Latin enharmonicus, from Greek enharmonikos, from en (see en- (2)) + harmonikos (see harmonic).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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