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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

Timbre

A description of the actual sounds that you hear.

“Tone color” or “quality”

timbre2

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

Timbre

6 Families of Instruments

family
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).
6 families
6 Families
  • String
  • Woodwind
  • Brass
  • Percussion
  • Keyboard
  • Electronic
rule of thumb
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.
string
String
  • Bowed Strings
    • Violin
    • Viola
    • Violoncello (cello)
    • Double bass

The nucleus of an orchestra consists of bowed strings.

string8
String
  • Plucked Strings
    • Guitar
    • Banjo
    • Mandolin
    • Bass Guitar
    • Balalaika
    • Lute
woodwinds
Woodwinds
  • Single reed (clarinet and saxophone)
  • Double reed (oboe, bassoon and English horn)
  • No reed (flute and piccolo)
brass
Brass
  • Trumpet
  • Trombone
  • French Horn
  • Tuba
percussion
Percussion
  • Definite pitch (marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, chimes, bells, timpani)
  • Indefinite pitch (bass drum, snare drum, woodblocks, cymbal)
keyboard
Keyboard
  • Piano
  • Pipe organ (king of instruments)
  • Harpsichord
electronic
Electronic
  • Electronic keyboards
  • Computer
  • Synthesizer
  • MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface)
orchestra
Orchestra
  • A group of instruments which has bowed strings as its nucleus.
  • To that, you may add any number or type of instruments.
seating plan of an orchestra
Seating plan of an Orchestra
  • Softest instruments in front (bowed strings)
  • Woodwinds behind
  • Brass behind
  • Percussion in back
  • Loudest instruments are in the back.
conductor
Conductor
  • Stands in front of orchestra
  • Keeps time and keeps them together
  • Listens to sound and shapes the music as it’s being played
concertmaster
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
voices22
Voices
  • SATB
voices23
Voices
  • Female:
  • Soprano (high)
  • Alto / Contralto (low)
  • Male:
  • Tenor (high)
  • Bass (low)
voices most common
Voices – Most Common
  • Female: Mezzo Soprano
  • Male: Baritone
a cappella
A cappella
  • Unaccompanied voices
  • Literally, “as in the chapel” – i.e., no instruments.
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