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Tone is a quality of color. It has to do with whether a color is perceived as warm or cold, bright or dull, light or dark, and pure or "dirty." The tone of a piece of art can do a variety of things, from setting the mood to adding emphasis. You've most likely heard the phrase "Tone it down." In art, this means to make a color, or an overall color scheme, less vibrant. Conversely, "toning it up" can cause colors to pop out of a piece, sometimes to a rather startling extent.
Yet, tone in art goes far beyond this simple analogy. Tone and Value in Art Tone is another name for value, which is one of the elements in art. Sometimes we use the phrase tonal value, though shade can be used as well. No matter what you call it, they all mean the same thing: the lightness or darkness of a color. A variety of tones is found in everything around us. The sky, for example, is not a solid shade of blue.
Instead, it is an array of blue tones that form a gradient from light to dark. Even an object that is a solid color, such as a leather sofa, will have tones when we paint or photograph it. In this case, the tones are created by the light falling on the object. The shadows and highlights give it dimension, even if it is one uniform color in reality. Global vs. Local Tone In art, a painting may have an overall tone and we call this the "global tone.
" A cheery landscape may have a very vibrant tone and a gloomy one may have a very dark tone. The global tone can set the mood for the piece and convey a message to the viewer. It is one of the tools that artists use to tell us what they want us to feel when we look at their work. Likewise, artists also use "local tone." This is a tone that encompasses a particular area within a piece of art. For example, you might see a painting of a harbor on a stormy evening.
Overall, it may have a very dark tone, but the artist may choose to add light in the area of a boat as if the clouds were clearing right above it. This area would have a localized light tone and may give the piece a romantic feel. How to See Tone in Colors The easiest way to envision a variation in tone is to think of different shades of gray. Going from the deepest blacks to the brightest whites, you can vary the intensity in steps as you move along the grayscale.
A black and white photograph, for instance, is nothing more than an array of tones. The most successful of these have a full range which adds visual interest. Without the contrast between blacks and whites with various gray tones in between, the image is dull and "muddy." When we turn our thoughts to color, the same exercise can be done. Every color can have an endless variety of tones, but it is hard to see that because the color distracts us.
To see the tonal values of colors we can take away the hue, leaving us with only gray values. Before computers, we had to use a series of monochromatic filters to be able to remove hue from things such as paint pigments. However, it is much simpler today. Simply take a picture of an object that is a single color like a green leaf. Put this into any photo editing app and desaturate it or use a black and white filter.
The resulting image will show you the great variety of tones available in that color. You may even be surprised at how many tones you see in something you thought was monochromatic.
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tone (tōn) n. 1. Music a. A sound of distinct pitch, quality, and duration; a note. b. The interval of a major second in the diatonic scale; a whole step. c. A recitational melody in a Gregorian chant. 2. a. The quality or character of sound. b. The characteristic quality or timbre of a particular instrument or voice. 3. a. The pitch of a word used to determine its meaning or to distinguish differences in meaning.
b. The particular or relative pitch of a word, phrase, or sentence. 4. Manner of expression in speech or writing: took an angry tone with the reporters. 5. A general quality, effect, or atmosphere: a room with an elegant tone. 6. a. A color or shade of color: light tones of blue. b. Quality of color: The green wallpaper had a particularly somber tone. 7. The general effect in painting of light, color, and shade.
8. Physiology a. The normal state of elastic tension or partial contraction in resting muscles. b. Normal firmness of a tissue or an organ. v. toned, ton·ing, tones v.tr. 1. To give a particular tone or inflection to. 2. To soften or change the color of (a painting or photographic negative, for example). 3. To sound monotonously; intone. 4. To make firmer or stronger. Often used with up: exercises that tone up the body.
v.intr. 1. To assume a particular color quality. 2. To harmonize in color. Phrasal Verb: tone down To make less vivid, harsh, or violent; moderate. [Middle English ton, from Old French, from Latin tonus, from Greek tonos, string, a stretching; see ten- in Indo-European roots.] tone (təʊn) n 1. sound with reference to quality, pitch, or volume 3. (Music, other) US and Canadian another word for note10 4.
(General Physics) (in acoustic analysis) a sound resulting from periodic or regular vibrations, composed either of a simple sinusoidal waveform (pure tone) or of several such waveforms superimposed upon one main one (compound tone) 5. (Classical Music) an interval of a major second; whole tone 6. (Music, other) Also called: Gregorian tone any of several plainsong melodies or other chants used in the singing of psalms 7.
(Linguistics) linguistics any of the pitch levels or pitch contours at which a syllable may be pronounced, such as high tone, falling tone, etc 8. the quality or character of a sound: a nervous tone of voice. 9. general aspect, quality, or style: I didn't like the tone of his speech. 10. high quality or style: to lower the tone of a place. 11. (Colours) the quality of a given colour, as modified by mixture with white or black; shade; tint: a tone of red.
12. (Physiology) physiol a. the normal tension of a muscle at rest b. the natural firmness of the tissues and normal functioning of bodily organs in health 13. (Art Terms) the overall effect of the colour values and gradations of light and dark in a picture 14. (Photography) photog a colour or shade of colour, including black or grey, of a particular area on a negative or positive that can be distinguished from surrounding lighter or darker areas vb 15.
(often foll by: with) to be of a matching or similar tone (to): the curtains tone with the carpet. 16. (tr) to give a tone to or correct the tone of 17. (Photography) photog (tr) to soften or change the colour of the tones of (a photographic image) by chemical means 18. (Physiology) (tr) to give greater firmness or strength to (the body or a part of the body) 19. an archaic word for intone [C14: from Latin tonus, from Greek tonos tension, tone, from teinein to stretch] Tone (təʊn) n (Biography) (Theobald) Wolfe.
1763–98, Irish nationalist, who founded (1791) the Society of United Irishmen and led (1798) French military forces to Ireland. He was captured and sentenced to death but committed suicide tone (toʊn)n., v. toned, ton•ing. n. 1. any sound considered with reference to its quality, pitch, strength, source, etc.: shrill tones. 2. quality or character of sound. 3. vocal sound; the sound made by vibrating muscular bands in the larynx.
4. a particular quality, way of sounding, modulation, or intonation of the voice. 5. an accent peculiar to a person, people, locality, etc., or a characteristic mode of sounding words in speech. 6. a pitch or movement in pitch serving to distinguish two words otherwise composed of the same sounds, as in Chinese. 7. the pitch, relative pitch, or change in pitch of a syllable, word, phrase, etc. 8. a.
a musical sound of definite pitch, consisting of several partial tones, the lowest being the fundamental and the others the harmonics or overtones. 9. a quality of color with reference to the degree of absorption or reflection of light; a tint or shade; value. 10. a slight modification of a given color; hue. 11. the prevailing effect of harmony of color and values. 12. a. the normal state of tension or responsiveness of the organs or tissues of the body.
b. that state of the body or of an organ in which all its functions are performed with healthy vigor. 13. a. a normal healthy mental condition. b. a particular mental state or disposition. 14. a particular style or manner, as of writing or speech; mood. 15. prevailing character or style, as of manners, morals, or philosophical outlook: the liberal tone of the 1960s. 16. style, distinction, or elegance.
v.t. 17. to sound with a particular tone. 18. to give the proper tone to (a musical instrument). 19. to modify the tone or general coloring of. 20. to give the desired tone to (a painting, drawing, etc.). 21. to render as specified in tone or coloring. 22. to modify the tone or character of. 23. to give or restore physical or mental tone to. v.i. 24. to take on a particular tone; assume color or tint.
25. tone down, a. to become or cause to become softened or moderated. b. to make (a painted color) less intense in hue; subdue. 26. tone up, a. to give a higher or stronger tone to. b. to gain or cause to gain in tone or strength. [1275–1325; Middle English (n.) < Latin tonus < Greek tónos cord, band, pitch, tone, derivative of teínein to stretch] tone′less, adj.
Title: Tone Definition In Art