What is timbre?

  • (noun): (music) the distinctive property of a complex sound (a voice or noise or musical sound).
    Example: "The timbre of her soprano was rich and lovely"
    Synonyms: timber, quality, tone


In music, timbre ( /ˈtæmbər/ TAM-bər (American English), /ˈtæɪmbər/ TAIM-bər (British English), or /ˈtɪmbər/) also known as tone color or tone quality from psychoacoustics, is the quality of a musical note or sound or tone that distinguishes different types of sound production, such as voices and musical instruments, string instruments, wind instruments, and percussion instruments. The physical characteristics of sound that determine the perception of timbre include spectrum and envelope.

Read more about Timbre.

Some articles on timbre:

Melodeon (organ) - Acoustics - Timbre
... and coupling effects between the sound box and the reeds on the timbre appear not to have been studied to date ...
Sensory Cue - Auditory Cues - Principles of Auditory Cue Grouping - Similarity of Timbre
... Timbre is the tone quality or tone character of a sound, independent of pitch ... When hearing multiple sounds, the timbre of each sound will be unchanging (regardless of pitch), and thus we can differentiate between sounds from different sources over time ...
Cornettino - Timbre
... The timbre of the cornettino is more pungent, brighter and a little more incisive than that of the regular cornetto ... The timbre of the instrument seems to have been regarded by 17th century Northern European composers as very agreeable juxtaposed the natural trumpets of ...
Timbre - Psychoacoustic Evidence
... Psychoacoustic experiments from the 1960s onwards tried to elucidate the nature of timbre ... to aggregate their dissimilarity judgements into a timbre space the most consistent outcomes from such experiments are that brightness or spectral energy distribution (Grey 1977,), and the "bite", or rate and ...
Timbral Listening - Concept
... In timbral listening, 'pitch is subordinate to timbre' ... there is 'a relation between timbre and spectral content which is analogous to that between pitch and frequency in that one is the prevalent cultural construct of the other ... the two sounds is entirely one of spectrum, or as the term is used in this article, timbre ...