Tone Color/Timbre

The quality that distinguishes the sound of an instrument (trumpet, flute, saxophone, guitar, etc.) is called Tone Color or Timbre (pronounced tam-ber).

It can further be described in words such as bright, dark, brilliant, mellow, rich.


Envelopes account for only part of what we perceive as timbre.

Harmonic Spectrum=The amplitude of each of the frequencies that make up the sound.


The predominant pitch in any tone is called the fundamental frequency of the sound.

Other frequencies present in a tone occur in a mathematical series called harmonic or overtone.
 
The frequency of each harmonic (a.k.a. "partial") is a whole number multiple of the fundamental frequency (2x, 3x, 4x, etc.).

Patterns and Sounds Of The Harmonic Series


Complete Lesson 2 Activity In The Activities Menu

Complete Lesson 2A Activity In The Activities Menu


Physics of Sound-Terms For Review

ADSR
amplitude
cycle
cycles per second (cps)
compression
decibel (dB)
envelopes
frequency
fundamental frequency
harmonic spectrum
harmonic series (overtone series)
Hertz (Hz)
intensity
interval
kilohertz (kHz)
legato
loudness
octave
pitch
rarefaction
sound
sawtooth wave
sine wave
square wave
staccato
timbre (tone color)
tone
triangle wave
watts
waveform
wavelength


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