Pronunciation: TAM-br

What is Timbre?

Timbre is the distinctive quality of a sound. It can be used to describe the sound that comes from a singing voice or musical instrument that distinguishes it from another voice or another instrument.

Key Takeaways

  1. Timbre is the sound that distinguishes a certain voice or musical instrument from that of another.
  2. Expert musicians can distinguish the sounds of different instruments, basing solely on their timbre.
  3. Timbre is the unique tone or quality of sound produced by a voice or musical instrument.

Understanding Timbre

As a sound quality, timbre can be described as warm, cold, rough, sharp, dull, thin, thick, dark, smooth, and other definitions. The tone of a particular voice or musical instrument remains distinct despite being sung or played in a different note or pitch.

For example, a piano’s timbre is different from the timbre of a guitar when both are played on the same note and in the same loudness. When two singers sing the same song, you can distinguish one from the other based on the timbre of their voices.

Related Terms

Intonation Intonation is defined as the rise and fall of tonal pitch in a musical performance. more

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