At first glance, 音 resembles a word formed from the characters 立 (lì) "Stand" and 曰 (yuē). However, 音 is a word and a radical itself and has more in common with the speech radical 言 (yán). 音 and 言 have different modern forms, but their oracle and seal scripts are similar, both resembling an upside down person with a large open mouth. In the early forms of 音 there was an addition to the mouth area of the character resembling a tongue, indicating the sound, instead of the action of speaking.
音 can mean sound, voice, tone, pitch, or pronunciation. 音 is found as a radical component in words such as: 意 (yì) "idea", 竟 (jìng) "actually", and 韵(yùn) "rhyme". It can also be combined with other characters to form compound words related to sound, especially music, such as: 音调 (yīn diào) "tone", 音符 (yīn fú) "note", 音高 (yīn gāo) "pitch", 音阶 (yīn jiē) "scale", and 音乐会 (yīn yuè huì) "concert".