Difference Between Tone vs Pitch
Sound is one thing that makes life lively. Just like the saying goes, all the sound of the earth is like music. It does not matter if you hear it with your ears or sense it through vibrations like in the case of people with hearing impairment, it still manages to command some attention. You may enjoy it if it is musical or interesting in some way, or it may be irritating and noisy depending on the quality.
Speaking of quality, what you hear can be influenced by factors such as pitch and tone. We will take a look at these words including their definitions and the unique factors that make them different from each another and point out the difference between pitch and tone.
Definition of Tone
Tone is the quality and strength of a musical sound as produced by a singer of a musical instrument, or the emotion conveyed in the voice of a singer or writer. When talking about music, this term can be described as rich, silky, breathy, brassy, and so on. Anything that explains the quality of the sound is typically talking about tone.
Still talking about music, this term can also be used to refer to a significant contrast in the degree of highness and lowness of a note. Lexical, semantical, contrastive, and phonemic are some of the words used to describe this contrast.
Another way to look at this term is the level of emotion it conveys to the listener in music and spoken words. It may be anger, disappointment, love, pain, and so on. When a person is visibly in pain, it clearly reflects in their voice when they speak, sing, or write.
One main difference between tone and pitch is that the former refers to the quality or emotion behind a sound while the latter refers to the frequency of the sound.
Definition of Pitch
Pitch is the degree of highness or lowness of the quality, strength, or intensity of a sound governed by its rate of vibrations. From another perspective, it can be defined as the key auditory attribute of a sound based on its fundamental frequency.
You might have noticed that some people naturally have a voice that can be described as high or tiny, especially for females, and that is what a high pitch sounds like. Males, on the other hand, typically have a deep and lower voice, which can be described as a low-pitched voice. A person’s pitch does not affect their tone.
This sound element is also a way of expressing the emotions behind a sound together with tone. When a person is happy, excited, or startled, it shows in their voice.
If you are highly motivated at a point to do something, it improves the strength you put into speaking, and as such, increases the pitch of the sound you make. If you are not motivated, the reverse would be the case.
One interesting similarity in the tone vs pitch is how both of them are affected by the emotions of the source, who may be a singer, speaker, or writer.
Main Differences Between Tone vs Pitch
Below is a table representing a summary of the difference between these two terms.
|Basis of Comparison||Tone||Pitch|
|Definition||The quality and strength of a musical sound as produced by a singer of a musical instrument or the emotion conveyed in the voice of a singer or writer||The degree of highness or lowness of the quality, strength, or intensity of a sound governed by its rate of vibrations|
|Basis of functionality||Quality, strength, and intensity||Frequency|
|Lexical and grammatic meaning||Applicable||Not applicable|
|Influence||Determines the quality of a sound||Determines the frequency of a sound|
Difference Between Tone and Pitch: Conclusion
Sounds are different and produced in variations. The differences we see in sound are as a result of tone, pitch, and intensity. More often than not, it influences a person’s state of mind and actions.
In the pitch vs tone comparison, the former points out how high or loud a sound is whereas the latter points out the quality of the sound. It is the latter that we feel when we listen to a melodious song.