sound with a typical pitch; steady periodic sound; characterized by its duration, pitch, intensity (or loudness), and timbre (or quality)

A musical tone is a repeating sound. Musical tones are different in duration, loudness, and timbre.[1] The notes used in music can have many complex forms, such as short bursts, changes in pitch, and shifts in noise.

A simple tone, or pure tone, has a steady noise. A complex tone is a musical tone that is not steady. Simple tones are added together to make complex tones.[2]


  1. Charles E. Anzalone (2012). Orion's Highway Across the Galaxy. Xlibris. p. 146. ISBN 9781477141472.
  2. Hermann von Helmholtz and Alexander John Ellis (1885). On the sensations of tone as a physiological basis for the theory of music (second ed.). Longmans, Green. p. 23.