Re: The word timbre: origins

Subject: Re: The word timbre: origins
From: Kevin Austin (
Date: Wed Sep 29 2004 - 08:54:56 EDT

Whether pitch is a facet of timbre or is 'something else' has been
discussed and examined. A high frequency to (9.5kHz) may be perceived
as timbral in nature, and most people who have been tested find it
difficult to give repeatable pitch information about it.

One could consider a simple recitation of the vowels /a/ /i/ /I/ /eh/
/o/ /u/, followed by singing the sequence on a mid-range note,
followed by singing on a high note, followed by singing on a low note
and determine in which cases pitch is more dominant and in which
pitch is more dominant.

Part of the reference is to the idea that when a flute and an oboe
produce the same pitch, which parameter is perceived as varying?
While pitch perception has been widely studied, spectral (timbral)
perception is still quite poorly understood / codified. While some
people have difficulty telling a violin from a viola, others are able
to comment on the quality of the violin in relation to other violins.



At 14:06 -0500 2004/09/28, Prof Malone wrote:
>on 9.28.04 2:56 PM, John Kamevaar at wrote:
> >> a helmet or skull cap, a heraldic crest, etc.).
>i like this one timbre is like the hat a sound wears
>>>[as distinct from its pitch
>>> or intensity]'
>i would think as distinct from other sounds (hats)
>as pitch is a facet of timbre
>happy tunes
>don malone
>it takes all of us

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