Definition of music tones and noise

By | April 5, 2021


Musical tones are pitched and tuned to a musical scale. They come from a number of musical instruments or the human voice, and can be combined to form harmonies.


Noise is unrelated. The frequency can be extremely low or high. Noise can be natural, mechanical or electronic. The frequencies are disorganized and not harmonic.


Accordions are harmonics that add character to a tone. The pitch is easily perceived, but it can be complex, like a piano tone or fuzz guitar. Harmonics preserve the pitch and the tone is musical.

Non Harmonics

Harmonics can be non-harmonic. They have a complicated mathematical relationship to the plan and confuse the plan. Non-harmonic harmonics tend to make a tone noisy. Gongs and cymbals are examples of non-harmonic harmonics, and are noisier than the pure tone of a triangle.

White Noise

White noise sounds like radio stable, a ‘hissy’ collection of random signals. Thunder, wind and surf are all variations of white noise. Turn on the radio, what do you hear? Do you call it sound or music? In general, we can call music a set of toned tones, and sound is all that does not sit. Here is some more information on the differences between tone and noise.