Tone describes the quality of sound, and is a musical or vocal sound, considered with reference to its quality, as acute or grave, sweet or harsh, loud or soft, clear or dull.Oxford English Dictionary Your tone of voice can convey a particular quality, pitch, modulation or inflection of the voice expressing or indicating affirmation, interrogation, hesitation, decision, or some feeling or emotion; vocal expression.Oxford English Dictionary
  The Logos, which is the third Emanation, is the source of tone and of the spoken Word. The principle of tone predominates in the Supreme Trinity. It is the source of our musical chromatic scale—a scale that proceeds by semitones, notes that do not appear in the diatonic scale. Tone is an abstract principle and a law of being and of doing.
  Tone is a law of doing; you must command your tone of voice and actions. Your imagination, thinking and desires all possess a certain "tone," which you have created as the result of your choices in applying principles as laws and your expression of those principles.

All facets of creation add their voices to the celestial symphony; for example marine biologists have recorded whale songs and dolphin speech, and radio astronomers have recorded the tones emitted by the stars of distant galaxies. The first recorded action in the Book of Genesis is divine speech, the Creative Fiat: God said, Let there be Light! and Light was.

Master of Music

Glory of architect, glory of painter, and sculptor, and bard,
Living forever in temple and picture and statue and song,
Look how the world with the lights that they lit is illumined and starred,
Brief was the flame of their life, but the lamps of their art burn long!
Where is the Master of Music, and how has he vanished away?
Where is the work that he wrought with his wonderful art in the air?
Gone, it is gone like the glow on the cloud at the close of the day!
The Master has finished his work, and the glory of music is — where?
Once, at the wave of his wand, all the billows of musical sound
Followed his will, as the sea was ruled by the prophet of old:
Now that his hand is relaxed, and his rod has dropped to the ground,
Silent and dark are the shores where the marvellous harmonies rolled!
Nay, but not silent the hearts that were filled by that life-giving sea;
Deeper and purer forever the tides of their being will roll,
Grateful and joyful, O Master, because they have listened to thee,
The glory of music endures in the depths of the human soul.
–Henry Van Dyke

Edna Lister on Tone

In offering prayer treatments, speak aloud, and occasionally even shout to release the Power more dynamically. Use definite tones of command, intense conviction, and use the name of the person being treated.–Edna Lister, Your Magnetic Powers, January 13, 1933

Tone carries the Power in the spoken Word.–Edna Lister, Peace, Power and Plenty, April 18, 1937

All phases of Light, color, tone, number, expression and form are subject to the choices of God’s sons and daughters.–Edna Lister, A Design for Ascension, 1941

God forms the Supreme Trinity with tone predominating. This is the source of our chromatic scale that repeatedly duplicates itself as it expands through each level of manifestation.
  Light contains all other principles. Light expresses quality, color expresses quantity and tone conveys quality and quantity. Imagination imparts quality and quantity to color and tone in everything we do. For instance, your tone of voice has quality and quantity (it has Light and color), and your use of tone, as spoken words, employs number and name. You color, give tone and number to everything you do, all your everyday activity.
  All concepts in divine Mind are formed in and of the Light of the Emanations. You color your personal use of Mind as these concepts descend through the first Absolute Trinity, which opens the principle of color. Yet your finite use of Mind cannot grasp a whole concept all at once. You touch and register part of a concept of Mind and translate it into an idea. When an idea colors your mind, it engages your mental faculties in the thinking process. All thinking operates through the second Supreme Trinity, which opens the principle of tone. The tone of your thinking determines the type of creation you will have in your outer life.
  Once the keynote combination of Light, color and tone is set, the principle of number begins to operate as the next step in the creative process. You call substance together according to the principle of number to build a creative mold. You construct your mold according to the color of the newly conceived idea and the tone of your thinking. Without the spoken Word, your creations merely dangle in divine Mind as nebulous ideas, without form. The principle of name is the magnet that must attract the love-substance to fill your mold before it can become visible.
  The first magic Word is let and the final magic name is good. To add "This is good and very good" to "Let there be Light," is the secret of all miracles.–Edna Lister, A Design for Ascension, 1941

When self colors your emotions and thinking, your imagination will create the adulterated form. When you fall out of step with Light, your auric colors become a mess, and your tone of voice goes off, into disharmony.–Edna Lister, The Driver’s Seat, 29, 1941

Illumination operates under three Christed principles, tone, number and form.–Edna Lister, The Yoke of Love, December 7, 1941

The abstract laws of Light, color, tone, number and form are laws of being and also relative laws of doing.–Edna Lister, Atomic Energy and Creative Mind, September 30, 1952

Self shows in the idle words spoken and the tones of voice.–Edna Lister, Seven Churches, November 25, 1952

When you express soul love, your tone of voice becomes brisk and has the quality of strength.–Edna Lister, The Living Chalice, December 7, 1952

In beginning was the Word that includes all of the invisible vital Source. From Let there be Light! came color, tone, number and form, principles that create millions of combinations. Tone expresses on a vast scale. You form words under tone. The tones you use color your voice in many degrees; if your tone of voice has no color, you sound monotonous.
  You can tell what a person is by his tone of voice and the words he chooses to speak.–Edna Lister, Jesus, the Descended God, December 12, 1954.

What you know, Light will do. What you declare, color will do, and it becomes tone and then form.–Edna Lister, Jesus, the Descended God, December 12, 1954

All general action proceeds from Light to color to tone to number, until it reaches form, which manifests on the spoken Word. The Word, when spoken, starts the personalized vibration of creation in manifestation. By the color of your words, you either condemn or bear witness to the Light. Your words can be gray or brilliantly hued. Tone tells what you are, what you are doing, and what you are planning.–Edna Lister, Four Phases of the Word, February 1, 1955

The first relative trinity is Light, color and tone, from which point, form begins to condense. All spoken words originate from this trinity. The fourth trinity of creative becoming is the Word, number and form.–Edna Lister, Enfolding Back to the Source, July 22, 1955

It takes a loud tone to change a vibration.–Edna Lister, You, the Miracle, November 18, 1956

Your words must contain honor and loyalty while being reasonable, because they are founded on a deep conviction of truth, which your very tone of voice will carry as an unanswerable, unalterable finality. Your speech must be so firm and brisk that others cannot set aside or overlook what you say. Only love can adjust your tone of voice properly. Otherwise, your speech is but sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. A simple-minded saccharine or mousy tone is only a cover-up for a desire for revenge or retaliation, a pose concocted to hide subconscious harshness or violence.–Edna Lister, As the World Sees Me, June 22, 1958

Most people use words, spoken and written, as symbols to express certain concepts that they then foolishly leave to the other fellow to interpret the symbols contained within their tone of voice. You should choose your words and tonal symbols wisely. Nine-tenths of all marital difficulties stem from a negative tone of voice more powerfully symbolic to the listener than the actual words spoken. For example, I love you, spoken in a whining tone of self will likely be interpreted as insincere.
  Any tone of voice may easily become an involuntary habit. Record your voice, then listen to the tones you are using. When someone snaps back at something you’ve said, your tone of voice most likely arose from a dark taint in your subconscious mind. Cleanse the unbeautiful.–Edna Lister, What Is Symbolism? October 6, 1959

You must work in rhythm with your own life chord, and be obedient to the color and tone about you.–Edna Lister, Consider the Lilies, May 29, 1960

Your voice has twelve chromatic tones; use them when you speak.–Edna Lister, What Is Your Measure of Power? June 12, 1960

The principle of tone rules the lotus centers and the atomic mental body, which encases the embodied rational soul or conscious mind.–Edna Lister, Is Faith Enough? June 21, 1960

Your appearance, tone of voice, glance and smile tell others what your approach to God is.–Edna Lister, Wherever You Go, October 22, 1961

Self shows in idle words of the little self and in the tones of voice.–Edna Lister, October 24, 1961.

Light contains all three Emanations as One. We worship the Light. "Let there be Light" is the first principle of all creation. The first degree of condensation of vibration forms the color principle; the second degree of condensation forms the tone principle; the third degree of condensation forms the number principle; the fourth degree of condensation forms the first outer form, or the name principle.–Edna Lister, God as Principle Applied Under Logic and Reason, November 5, 1963

Life itself evolves by linking under the principles of Light, color, tone, number and form. You must use these principles to understand your relationship to life.–Edna Lister, Your Live Wire of Omnipotence, September 7, 1965

Your tone of voice is more important than your words; the words can flatter, but tone can offend. You offend more with tone than with words. Words release the vibration of God's Word, but tone comes from your subconscious and holds the vibration of your true feeling.–Edna Lister, Is Your Compassion Increasing? November 13, 1966

Whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.—Matthew 5:39. When another smites you on the right cheek, your tone or words offended, which shows that you were not under Light when you spoke; you may experience the results weeks later. Turning the left cheek means returning to the Light. The first slap gives you a lesson, the second returns you to the Light so you no longer offend. To turn the other cheek may be as simple as replying with a soft word or apology, but always stand under Light.–Edna Lister, Understanding and Will, May 28, 1967

You are the light of the world. Let your light so shine.–Matthew 5:14, 16. So is a great word. People use it so often in common speech. The dictionary says that so represents a way or a manner; it indicates a higher degree for any phrase or statement. So is an exclamation of approval or triumph. So is a different measuring rod, telling the world the exact extent of our desire. The tone of your voice so reveals your desire beneath the surface, and chronicles your true desires on the invisible records of your lines of Light.–Edna Lister, Let Your Light So Shine, November 24, 1968

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.–John 1:1. Every word is a vibration. You give a word Power through your tone of voice. Tone is the magic in the vibration of a word. Tone is the catalyst that vitalizes the Word.
  The Bible is written under the principle of tone and expresses in words the music of the spheres. The one who reads it with that in mind will hear it.–Edna Lister, Victory, Using Your Magic Wand, May 24, 1970

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.–John 1:1. Your tone of voice determines the Power that goes forth when you speak the magic Word.–Edna Lister, Ascension Makes All Things New, July 5, 1970

Light, as the principle of tone, serves as the tuning fork for your physical glands, spine and nerves, your desire body vital centers, mental body lotus centers and soul sun centers.–Edna Lister, The Prodigal Son, December 20, 1970

Top ↑

Stories That Illustrate the Power of Tone

The Destruction of Jericho’s Walls: Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. And the Lord said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour. And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.–Joshua 6:1-5
  …And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times. And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the Lord hath given you the city.…So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.–Joshua 6:15-16,20

Gideon Routs the Host of Midian

And it came to pass the same night, that the Lord said unto him, Arise, get thee down unto the host; for I have delivered it into thine hand. But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host: and thou shalt hear what they say; and afterward shall thine hands be strengthened to go down unto the host. Then went he down with Phurah his servant unto the outside of the armed men that were in the host. And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude. And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along. And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host.
  And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the Lord hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian. And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers. And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do. When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands. And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. And they stood every man in his place round about the camp; and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.–Judges 7:9-21

Raising Lazarus from the Dead: When Jesus therefore saw [Mary] weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.–John 11:33-44

Top ↑


Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of tone: Latin tonus, from Greek tonos, a stretching quality of sound.

Tone is an abstract principle.
Tone is a law of doing.


Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Edition 2 volumes. Oxford University Press, 1971.

Related Topic

Speaking the Word