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Here's a bit of trivia I hope someone can help with. A student of mine is working on master's thesis which, among many things, is engaging with music in the film Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (the sequel to the Sherlock Holmes film starring Robert Downey Jr.). In that first film, there is a scene in which Sherlock is performing an experiment with his violin. He explains to Watson that "atonal clusters," rather than a chromatic scale, causes flies to move in a certain direction. The film takes place in or around the year 1881, which predates the earliest reference to the word "atonal" I can find, which comes from a 1907 thesis written by composer Joseph Marx.
So my question: Does anyone know of an earlier use of the English word "atonal," or do we have to assume that Sherlock was not only a great detective, but also an amateur musicologist.