A quarter tone is a musical interval equal to exactly half a semitone. Semitones are 100 cents, so quarter tones are 50 cents and 24 of them make an octave. (Thus a quarter tone is the twelfth root of two or approximately 35/36.) "quarter tone" is also the name given to any pitch halfway between two adjacent conventional pitches, for instance between F and F#. Quarter tones appear in the enharmonic genus of ancient Greek music and also in Arabic maqamat. The earliest known published Western quarter-tone composition is Richard Stein's Zwei Konzertst├╝ck (1906). It is possible to play quarter tones on any fretless stringed instrument, an instrument with a slide such as a trombone, or an instrument modified to play quarter tones either by adding more keys to a keyboard or by adding a special quarter tone valve to a valved brass instrument. It is possible, though difficult, to sing quarter tones. I avoid quarter tones myself because for one thing they don't sound good, and for another they're just another form of equal temperament with 24 equal divisions instead of 12.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.