• synonyms


noun Music.
  1. a diatonic series of four tones, the first and last separated by a perfect fourth.
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Origin of tetrachord

First recorded in 1595–1605, tetrachord is from the Greek word tetráchordos having four strings. See tetra-, chord1
Related formstet·ra·chor·dal, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for tetrachord

Historical Examples

  • The early lyre of the Greeks had four, constituting their tetrachord.

    Essays: Scientific, Political, & Speculative, Vol. I

    Herbert Spencer

  • These three classes differ in their arrangement of the tetrachord.

  • In the enharmonic, the tetrachord consists of two tones and two "dieses."

  • It naturally disappeared when the tetrachord Hypatn came into use.

  • But within the tetrachord the reign of diversity was unchecked.

British Dictionary definitions for tetrachord


  1. (in musical theory, esp of classical Greece) any of several groups of four notes in descending order, in which the first and last notes form a perfect fourth
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Derived Formstetrachordal, adjective

Word Origin

C17: from Greek tetrakhordos four-stringed, from tetra- + khordē a string
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