A musical tone is a steady periodic sound. A musical tone is characterized by its duration, pitch, intensity (or loudness), and timbre (or quality). The notes used in music can be more complex than musical tones, as they may include aperiodic aspects, such as attack transients, vibrato, and envelope modulation.
A simple tone, or pure tone, has a sinusoidal waveform. A complex tone is any musical tone that is not sinusoidal, but is periodic, such that it can be described as a sum of simple tones with harmonically related frequencies.
- Juan G. Roederer (2008). The Physics and Psychophysics of Music: An Introduction (fourth ed.). Springer. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-387-09470-0.
- 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.
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