Definition of temperament in English:


Line breaks: tem¦pera|ment
Pronunciation: /ˈtɛmp(ə)rəm(ə)nt


  • 2 [mass noun] The adjustment of intervals in tuning a piano or other musical instrument so as to fit the scale for use in different keys; in equal temperament, the octave consists of twelve equal semitones: this temperament became standard tuning for all the new organs
    More example sentences
    • The whole topic of temperament and tuning is sensibly presented, and there are even hints on the purchase and care of instruments.
    • In this equal temperament system of tuning, the frequencies of notes on a keyboard are related by a fairly simple mathematical relationship involving the number of keys (half-steps) between the notes.
    • The middle octave on the piano is shown as a standard example of equal temperament.


late Middle English: from Latin temperamentum 'correct mixture', from temperare 'mingle'. In early use the word was synonymous with the noun temper.

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