Timber - Essay Example

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Timbre Date In psychoacoustics, timbre is the quality of tone or the tone colour. This is simply the distinguishing factor between different types of sounds produced. Therefore, timbre is the quality of sound or musical note that enables a musical expert or any individual to identify the difference between percussion instruments, string instruments, voices, wind instruments and musical instruments (Maia 17)…
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Debussy’s music elevates the role of timbre. Keen attention to timbre distinguishes Debussy’s Composition from some of the most listened to pieces of music. The overwhelming importance of this sound element initiates efforts to explain how the humans are able to perceive timbre. There are various aspects of sound itself or the source of sound that enables individuals to tell different sounds apart. These aspects are the ones that influence human perception of timbre. Timbre is a concept that is hard to quantify but it is universally agreeable that timbre concerns sound but not the pitch, loudness or duration. An example of when timbre comes to action is when one is able to instantly identify whether a particular sound is coming from a piano oar a violin. Timbre largely depends on two noted things. One is the waveform exhibited in the stable section of the tone. The second component is the manner in which the spectrum changer as time elapses. It is particularly at the attack or onset. The ability to perceive the quality of the tones is probably performed through matching of patterns (Liesch 13). This process is evident when vision is concerned. Researchers assert that the moment a particular timbre is identified, filtering out of some parts of the spectrum or change in the pitch does not affect recognition afterwards. This suggests that the human capacity to perceive timbre persists. As results, humans are able to identify sound that exhibit low pitches even when fundamentals are not reproduced by a sound system. Different sounds have different frequencies. This was identified by Joseph Fourier in his study of tone quality determination. This led him to conclude mathematically that timbre also bases its credentials from the initial composition of any sound. The basics of any sound entail a set of multiple frequencies which are known as harmonic series. The ear plays the role of perception of timbre by acting as a frequency analyzer. The frequency of the sounds poses different reactions in the membranes of the ear. A complex tone is broken down in the cochlea into components called harmonics and partials (Maia 22). These components are readily detectable by the year and synthesized such that one can finally separate simultaneous tones. Fundamentals partials are the lowest sounding tones. More often than not, this is the loudest tone in the harmonic series. The remainders of the higher sounding partials are mostly softer and are blend together by the brain/ear system to form a single tone emanating from a particular instrument. Since different tones have different frequencies, then there is contrast in difference of the higher sounding partials and lower sounding partials across the tones. Therefore, this result to separation of quality between sounds and consequently one can tell a piano sound apart from a violin sound. The source of sound and the happenings before the sound reaches the year also enables one to identify qualities of sounds. For instance, a flute and a violin may be playing. The player may decide to cause vibrations at the same rate. There are notable changes that occurs which causes the listener to perceive them different. The air column in the vibrating flute as well as the string on the vibrating violin alters the frequencies of the soundness. They create different Read More
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