Students always ask me a question on the first Cantonese class: Are there really nine tones in Cantonese? If the tones are divided according to the pitch levels only, there are only 6 real tones.
For the tone 7-9, they are the syllables ended in a clip p, t, k in Cantonese (Clipped syllables). The tone number 7-9 will only ever be a syllable end in one of three short stops: –p, –t, and –k. What makes the difference from Tone 1-6 is the tone will only ever be a steady High (1), Middle (3), or Mid-Low tone (6). Clipped syllables nature is shorter and cannot be extended, they are pronounced as the words like cup, cut and plug. Which tone do you think is more difficult to pronounce?
1 is the lowest note in your vocal range
5 is the highest note in your vocal range