tone colour n.
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Tone Colour. Overview – Tone Colour. TONE COLOUR refers to that aspect of sound that allows the listener to identify the sound source or combinations of sound sources. It is the tone colour that allows us to differentiate sounds, such as the sound of a violin or the voice of a soprano.

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Tone Colour

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overview tone colour
Overview – Tone Colour
  • TONE COLOUR refers to that aspect of sound that allows the listener to identify the sound source or combinations of sound sources.
  • It is the tone colour that allows us to differentiate sounds, such as the sound of a violin or the voice of a soprano.
  • Tone colour refers to the quality of sound. It derives from the sounds made by the material of the instrument or voice, the techniques employed in producing the sound, the layers of sound and the effects the sound has on the music
making of sound
Making of Sound
  • Sound is anything you can hear. It is the result of waves of vibrating air particles that travel from the source through the air to our eardrum, which picks up the vibrations
  • The main features of all sound waves are frequency (the length of the sound wave) and amplitude (the height of the sound wave). These features determine the sound’s volume and pitch. as sound that we hear.
  • Frequency is the number of sound waves per second.
  • Waves with a low frequency (slow vibrations), which have a longer wavelength, produce low sounds
  • Waves with a high frequency have shorter wavelengths (fast vibrations) and produce high sounds.
material of the instrument
Material of the Instrument
  • The material an instrument is made from is important to its sound.
  • We can group materials into six main categories within which we can note similarities in sound qualities:
    • Wood
    • Metal
    • String
    • Skin
    • Electronic
    • Vocal
method of producing sound
Method of Producing Sound
  • To produce any sound from an instrument, there must be a sound production method.
  • The methods of producing sound from instruments can be grouped as follows:
    • Hitting
    • Blowing
    • Shaking
    • Scraping
    • Plucking
types of sound
Types of Sound
  • The material used and the method of producing the sound create a type of sound. In music, these types can be acoustic, electronic or synthesised.
    • Acoustic sounds are mechanical (soundbite 4.1)
    • An electronic sound is created by electronic means (soundbite 4.2)
    • The synthesiser is classed as an electronic instrument because the sound is produced electronically only. (soundbite 4.3)
types of instruments
Types of Instruments
  • Musical instruments can be broadly categorised into Western and world instruments.
  • Western musical instruments have four categories: strings; woodwind; percussion & brass (see list)
  • World musical instruments have four categories: membranophones; chordophones; aerophones and idiophones.
world music instruments
World Music Instruments
  • Musical instruments from many cultures around the world cannot be classified neatly into the four families of the orchestra that relate to Western Music.
  • World music has its own four-group classification
    • membranophones - instrumnets with a membrane or skin stretched over them – usually drum like
    • chordophones - instruments that use strings for sound production
    • aerophones - instruments that are blown into
    • idiophones —- characterised by vibration of the entire instrument, usually by shaking
types of voices
Types of Voices
  • Vocal sounds are any sounds that are produced by the voice. In music, the voice can be used in many different ways. Most commonly we hear the singing voice, but other vocal sounds may be used in a piece of music.
  • A person's voice can be classified as belonging to one of four main vocal ranges:
    • soprano, (soundbite 4.7)
    • alto, (soundbite 4.8)
    • tenor (soundbite 4.9)
    • bass. (soundbite 4.10)
unconventional electronic
Unconventional & Electronic
  • Unconventional
    • John Cage – 4.33 of rests!
    • Unusual ways of playing the instrument. E.g. Prepared Piano
  • Electronic
    • Sounds produced by electronic means
    • Either
      • Enhanced raw sound (eg amplified)
      • Raw sound produced by electronic means
combining sound sources
Combining Sound Sources
  • Many pieces of music are composed for more than one sound source – eg. Rock band has strings, percussion, vocals etc.
  • Musical layers (texture) involve a single or group of instruments.
  • Musical layers – need to identify the roles
number of sound sources
Number of Sound Sources
  • Each layer features at least 1 instrument
  • Try to identify as close as possible the instrument. It’s better to say “Flute-like” rather than just woodwind.
  • An instrumental arrangement can be for either a solo instrument or ensemble
    • Solo – each layer combined for one instrument – usually just the melody
    • Ensemble – 2 or more instruments – combination chosen by the arranger eg- string group. May be further classified as small (soundbite 4.17) or large ensemble (soundbite 4.18)