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Tone cluster

From Academic Kids


A tone cluster, in music and in Western tuning, is a chord or simultaneity comprised of consecutive tones separated chromatically. For example a typical tone cluster could be the tones C, C#, D, D#, E, F, held at the same time.

Variants of this include the chord comprising of tones separated diatonically, or pentatonically (on a piano, holding only the black notes).

Henry Cowell was notable for the use of this harmonic technique in his piano work The Tides of Manaunaun, and György Ligeti has written one of the largest cluster chords - in the orchestral Atmosphères (1961), every note in the chromatic scale over a range of five octaves is played at once (quietly). Many other composers have used clusters, including frequent use in jazz music.

Tone clusters may also be considered secundal chords.

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