[ toh-nal-i-tee ]
/ toʊˈnæl ɪ ti /

noun, plural to·nal·i·ties.

  1. the sum of relations, melodic and harmonic, existing between the tones of a scale or musical system.
  2. a particular scale or system of tones; a key.
(in painting, graphics, etc.) the system of tones or tints, or the color scheme, of a picture.
the quality of tones.

Origin of tonality

First recorded in 1830–40; tonal + -ity

Related forms

to·nal·i·tive, adjectivenon·to·nal·i·ty, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tonality

British Dictionary definitions for tonality


/ (təʊˈnælɪtɪ) /

noun plural -ties

  1. the actual or implied presence of a musical key in a composition
  2. the system of major and minor keys prevalent in Western music since the decline of modesCompare atonality
the overall scheme of colours and tones in a painting
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