Pronunciation: IN-toe-NAY-shun

What is Intonation?

Intonation is defined as the rise and fall of tonal pitch in a musical performance. Proper intonation is the production of a tone that meets the composition’s correct tune.

Key Takeaway

  1. Intonation is a fundamental standard that all musicians must strive to create harmony and cohesion in a musical group.
  2. Intonation is the rise and fall of one’s voice or instrument, and it can be flat or sharp if not sung or played to the targeted tune.
  3. Intonation is also known as pitch accuracy – whether a tone is “in tune” or not.

Understanding Intonation

It is highly important that a singer or musician has pitch accuracy, which is a fundamental standard for all musicians. Someone who is “out of tune” can throw off other musicians in the band or group, creating dissonance and producing an unpleasant listening experience.

Intonation may be flat, sharp, or can be both successively. Intonation is called sharp when a song is sung or played in a higher frequency than the correct tune. It is called flat when the intonation is in a lower frequency.

Related Terms

Harmony Harmony is one of the essentials of music, with the other two being melody and rhythm. more

Dynamics Dynamics is the term that conveys the variation in loudness between notes or phrases in musical composition. more

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