Timbre
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Timbre A description of the actual sounds that you hear. “Tone color” or “quality” Timbre Timbre can be a list of the instruments or voices that you hear. Timbre can also refer to the variations in tone color of a specific instrument (a bright guitar or dark voice). Timbre

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Timbre l.jpg

Timbre

A description of the actual sounds that you hear.

“Tone color” or “quality”


Timbre2 l.jpg

Timbre

Timbre can be a list of the instruments or voices that you hear.

Timbre can also refer to the variations in tone color of a specific instrument (a bright guitar or dark voice).


Timbre3 l.jpg

Timbre

6 Families of Instruments


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Family

  • An instrument is grouped into a family based on how it PRODUCES sound (not how it sounds, what it looks like, what material it’s made from, etc).


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6 Families

  • String

  • Woodwind

  • Brass

  • Percussion

  • Keyboard

  • Electronic


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Rule of Thumb

  • The smaller/shorter the vibrating element (string, pipe, air tube, etc.), the HIGHER the pitch.

  • The larger/longer the vibrating element, the LOWER the pitch.


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String

  • Bowed Strings

    • Violin

    • Viola

    • Violoncello (cello)

    • Double bass

      The nucleus of an orchestra consists of bowed strings.


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String

  • Plucked Strings

    • Guitar

    • Banjo

    • Mandolin

    • Bass Guitar

    • Balalaika

    • Lute


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Woodwinds

  • Single reed (clarinet and saxophone)

  • Double reed (oboe, bassoon and English horn)

  • No reed (flute and piccolo)


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Brass

  • Trumpet

  • Trombone

  • French Horn

  • Tuba


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Percussion

  • Definite pitch (marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, chimes, bells, timpani)

  • Indefinite pitch (bass drum, snare drum, woodblocks, cymbal)


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Keyboard

  • Piano

  • Pipe organ (king of instruments)

  • Harpsichord




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Electronic

  • Electronic keyboards

  • Computer

  • Synthesizer

  • MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface)


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Orchestra

  • A group of instruments which has bowed strings as its nucleus.

  • To that, you may add any number or type of instruments.


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Seating plan of an Orchestrap. 192 (Haydn)p. 383 (Stravinsky)


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Seating plan of an Orchestra

  • Softest instruments in front (bowed strings)

  • Woodwinds behind

  • Brass behind

  • Percussion in back

  • Loudest instruments are in the back.


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Conductor

  • Stands in front of orchestra

  • Keeps time and keeps them together

  • Listens to sound and shapes the music as it’s being played


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Concertmaster

  • First chair first violin

  • Responsible for bowings in the section

  • Plays all passages written for solo violin

  • Tunes up the orchestra

  • Is expected to “stand in” for the conductor if necessary



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Voices

  • SATB


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Voices

  • Female:

  • Soprano (high)

  • Alto / Contralto (low)

  • Male:

  • Tenor (high)

  • Bass (low)


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Voices – Most Common

  • Female: Mezzo Soprano

  • Male: Baritone


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A cappella

  • Unaccompanied voices

  • Literally, “as in the chapel” – i.e., no instruments.


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