Origin of tonal

1770–80; < Medieval Latin tonālis. See tone, -al1
Related formston·al·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Contemporary Examples of tonal

Historical Examples of tonal

British Dictionary definitions for tonal


  1. of or relating to tone
  2. of, relating to, or utilizing the diatonic system; having an established keyCompare atonal
    1. (of an answer in a fugue) not having the same melodic intervals as the subject, so as to remain in the original key
    2. denoting a fugue as having such an answerCompare real 1 (def. 11)
Derived Formstonally, adverb
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

Word Origin and History for tonal

1776; see from tone + -al (1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper