The DICT Development Group
1 definition found
for Tone color
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :
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,
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.
[Harmony divine] smooths her charming tones.
Tones that with seraph hymns might blend. --Keble.
2. (Rhet.) Accent, or inflection or modulation of the voice,
as adapted to express emotion or passion.
Eager his tone, and ardent were his eyes. --Dryden.
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.
(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
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.
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.
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.
Note: In this sense, the word is metaphorically applied to
character or faculties, intellectual and moral; as, his
mind has lost its tone.
6. (Physiol.) Tonicity; as, arterial tone.
7. State of mind; temper; mood.
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.
Their tone was dissatisfied, almost menacing. --W.
8. Tenor; character; spirit; drift; as, the tone of his
remarks was commendatory.
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.
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.
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.
[Webster 1913 Suppl.]
13. (Plant Physiol.) The condition of normal balance of a
healthy plant in its relations to light, heat, and
[Webster 1913 Suppl.]
Tone color. (Mus.) see the Note under def. 4, above.
Tone syllable, an accented syllable. --M. Stuart.
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