Tone color
Tone Tone (t[=o]n), n. [F. ton, L. tonus a sound, tone, fr. Gr. to`nos a stretching, straining, raising of the voice, pitch, accent, measure or meter, in pl., modes or keys differing in pitch; akin to tei`nein to stretch or strain. See {Thin}, and cf. {Monotonous}, {Thunder}, {Ton} fashion, {Tune}.] 1. Sound, or the character of a sound, or a sound considered as of this or that character; as, a low, high, loud, grave, acute, sweet, or harsh tone. [1913 Webster]

[Harmony divine] smooths her charming tones. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

Tones that with seraph hymns might blend. --Keble. [1913 Webster]

2. (Rhet.) Accent, or inflection or modulation of the voice, as adapted to express emotion or passion. [1913 Webster]

Eager his tone, and ardent were his eyes. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

3. A whining style of speaking; a kind of mournful or artificial strain of voice; an affected speaking with a measured rhythm ahd a regular rise and fall of the voice; as, children often read with a tone. [1913 Webster]

4. (Mus.) (a) A sound considered as to pitch; as, the seven tones of the octave; she has good high tones. (b) The larger kind of interval between contiguous sounds in the diatonic scale, the smaller being called a semitone as, a whole tone too flat; raise it a tone. (c) The peculiar quality of sound in any voice or instrument; as, a rich tone, a reedy tone. (d) A mode or tune or plain chant; as, the Gregorian tones. [1913 Webster]

Note: The use of the word tone, both for a sound and for the interval between two sounds or tones, is confusing, but is common -- almost universal. [1913 Webster]

Note: Nearly every musical sound is composite, consisting of several simultaneous tones having different rates of vibration according to fixed laws, which depend upon the nature of the vibrating body and the mode of excitation. The components (of a composite sound) are called partial tones; that one having the lowest rate of vibration is the fundamental tone, and the other partial tones are called harmonics, or overtones. The vibration ratios of the partial tones composing any sound are expressed by all, or by a part, of the numbers in the series 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc.; and the quality of any sound (the tone color) is due in part to the presence or absence of overtones as represented in this series, and in part to the greater or less intensity of those present as compared with the fundamental tone and with one another. Resultant tones, combination tones, summation tones, difference tones, Tartini's tones (terms only in part synonymous) are produced by the simultaneous sounding of two or more primary (simple or composite) tones. [1913 Webster]

5. (Med.) That state of a body, or of any of its organs or parts, in which the animal functions are healthy and performed with due vigor. [1913 Webster]

Note: In this sense, the word is metaphorically applied to character or faculties, intellectual and moral; as, his mind has lost its tone. [1913 Webster]

6. (Physiol.) Tonicity; as, arterial tone. [1913 Webster]

7. State of mind; temper; mood. [1913 Webster]

The strange situation I am in and the melancholy state of public affairs, . . . drag the mind down . . . from a philosophical tone or temper, to the drudgery of private and public business. --Bolingbroke. [1913 Webster]

Their tone was dissatisfied, almost menacing. --W. C. Bryant. [1913 Webster]

8. Tenor; character; spirit; drift; as, the tone of his remarks was commendatory. [1913 Webster]

9. General or prevailing character or style, as of morals, manners, or sentiment, in reference to a scale of high and low; as, a low tone of morals; a tone of elevated sentiment; a courtly tone of manners. [1913 Webster]

10. The general effect of a picture produced by the combination of light and shade, together with color in the case of a painting; -- commonly used in a favorable sense; as, this picture has tone. [1913 Webster]

11. (Physiol.) Quality, with respect to attendant feeling; the more or less variable complex of emotion accompanying and characterizing a sensation or a conceptual state; as, feeling tone; color tone. [Webster 1913 Suppl.]

12. Color quality proper; -- called also {hue}. Also, a gradation of color, either a hue, or a tint or shade.

She was dressed in a soft cloth of a gray tone. --Sir G. Parker. [Webster 1913 Suppl.]

13. (Plant Physiol.) The condition of normal balance of a healthy plant in its relations to light, heat, and moisture. [Webster 1913 Suppl.]

{Tone color}. (Mus.) see the Note under def. 4, above.

{Tone syllable}, an accented syllable. --M. Stuart. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • tone color — n. TIMBRE …   English World dictionary

  • tone color — Music. tone quality; timbre. [1880 85] * * * …   Universalium

  • tone color — (Roget s Thesaurus II) noun A sound of distinct pitch and quality: timbre, tonality, tone. See SOUNDS …   English dictionary for students

  • tone color — noun Etymology: translation of German klangfarbe 1. : timbre 1b 2. : color 10b …   Useful english dictionary

  • tone color — noun Date: 1881 timbre …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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  • Tone — (t[=o]n), n. [F. ton, L. tonus a sound, tone, fr. Gr. to nos a stretching, straining, raising of the voice, pitch, accent, measure or meter, in pl., modes or keys differing in pitch; akin to tei nein to stretch or strain. See {Thin}, and cf.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Tone syllable — Tone Tone (t[=o]n), n. [F. ton, L. tonus a sound, tone, fr. Gr. to nos a stretching, straining, raising of the voice, pitch, accent, measure or meter, in pl., modes or keys differing in pitch; akin to tei nein to stretch or strain. See {Thin},… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • color — [kul′ər] n. [ME & OFr colour < L color < OL colos, orig., a covering < IE base * kel , to conceal, hide > HULL1, HALL] 1. the sensation resulting from stimulation of the retina of the eye by light waves of certain lengths 2. the… …   English World dictionary

  • tone — *color, hue, shade, tint, tinge …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

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