What is tone in music terms?

This is really the wrong way to ask this, as I’m not sure how to answer this question adequately. When I read the original answer to this question, I did not find it very insightful. I felt, at the time, that I felt the phrase “tone” was almost equivalent to an adjective; that it was a term to convey qualities, not a descriptive term. “Sophisticated” can be a subjective thing, like the way you interpret a musical piece. “Elegant” might be a word of approval, like with “beautiful,” or it might be a kind of a noun (“elegance”).

Nevertheless, for all you aspiring music producers out there, tone is simply a term that encompasses the various aspects of what makes any given piece musical or musical-sounding, including but not limited to: dynamics, harmony, and dynamics-based effects.

Let’s revisit my prior question: does music sound good simply by means of adding volume, depth, and instrumentation to a song? There is no objective way to judge this, since “tone” is an adjective. This leads me to a more general question from the original answer: where is the objective measure of music performance? Do we have objective measures for how good a given piece of music is done, or do we have subjective ones, like “how important is the instrumentation?” And as for “tone,” I believe we can’t even measure it quantitatively with a scale or even with standard musical notation.

What can we objectively quantify with numbers, then? For example, if musical notation is an objective measure, then it can be compared to the standard, which has become quite subjective over the years. So we have two options: either we can have a simple, objective, objective quantitative comparison of how well a piece of music is done with no subjective variables, or we can have an objective, subjective comparison of how good the song is performed with an infinite amount of subjective variables. What’s the best way for musicians to deal with this problem? I think we all have an answer to that question.

In summary, the “tone” (accent, harmonies, etc.) of a piece of music depends purely on the music itself. A piece of music is what brings the music to life and gives its identity to the listener, and how the music is arranged, played, performed, or written.

So, what is the tone of a piece of music? If we want to give a