Musical Term of the Week
A “Musical Term of the Week” from February 2010.
by Melissa Wimbish
Often when people see this musical term, they pronounce it as if they just chopped down a tree! Many of us can recall a time when someone described the “timber” of an instrument or a voice and we gave them a pitiful nod without having the heart to correct them. The term timbre looks awfully similar to timber….just make sure YOU know the difference or you might end up looking like a real dumbwad at your next study session.
The term is used to describe the colors of a sound. Even this description is a bit obscure, but think about the difference between a trumpet and a clarinet playing the exact same melody in the exact same key and it might make more sense to you.
timbre – the quality given to a sound by its overtones; the resonance by which the ear recognizes and identifies a voiced speech sound; the quality of tone distinctive of a particular singing voice or musical instrument (Meriam-Webster Online Dictionary)
For more information about this term, click here.