Interrelated Dimensions of Music: Timbre

Timbre is the quality of sound that distinguishes different instruments from each other.

In the standard orchestra the instruments are separated into families:

Strings, Woodwind, Brass, and percussion.

Each of these families of instruments has a different sound to the other due to the materials that the instruments are made from. So even if all the instruments are playing the same pitch, the timbre of the note will sound different

There are even differences in timbre between instruments of the same family.

A more contemporary example of timbre is the difference in sound between an acoustic guitar and a guitar that’s been overdriven to distortion in an amplifier.

You can investigate different timbres at home but tapping different surfaces, hear how knocking on your bedroom wall sounds different to knocking on your bedroom door!

View the whole series and more on YouTube


Enjoyed this activity?

Click here to see how you can support us!

Don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram