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Coined by Ivor Darreg, from xen- +‎ harmonic


xenharmonic (not comparable)

  1. (music) Not conforming to the common 12-tone equal temperament.
    • 1978 September 1, Ivor Darreg, “A Xenharmonist's Message to the Computer Musicians”, in Computer Music Journal, volume 2, number 2, The MIT Press:
      The back cover lists "Materials and Services", including Xenharmonikon (cooperation prevails in the xenharmonic world), and persons cooperating in a tape exchange--meaning that if you send a tape of your music, to someone on the list, you get back a tape of their music.
    • 2013, William A. Sethares, Tuning, Timbre, Spectrum, Scale[1], page 189:
      Dissonance scores can also be applied in situations where no musical score exists, and two examples are given: a xenharmonic piece by Carlos, and a Balinese gamelan performance.
    • 2015, Curtis Roads, Composing Electronic Music: A New Aesthetic[2], page 219:
      Microtonal music is sometimes referred to as xenharmonic music, the term deriving from the Greek xenia (hospitable) and xenos (foreign or strange) (Chalmers 1974; Darreg 1977; Wilson 2014).