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MUS 103 (6)
Chapter 5

Chapter 5-Timbre.docx

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University of Mississippi
MUS 103
Michael Rowlett

Timbre: the quality of sound characteristic of a particular voice, instrument, or ensemble --this is what sets the sounds of instruments apart; i.e. how you can tell a piano from a flute --affected by the material from which it is made and by the individual manner in which a musician plays it I. Vocal Timbres a. Women’s voices i. Soprano: high range of pitches ii. Mezzo-soprano: medium range iii. Alto/contralto: low range b. Men’s voices i. Tenor: high ii. Baritone: medium iii. Bass: low II. Instruments of the Orchestra a. Symphony orchestra: members of all four of the instrument families: brass, woodwind, string, and percussion b. String instruments i. Represented by the violin: a small instrument that may be held under the chin; viola: slightly larger, but also held under the chin; cello: a large, heavy instrument propped on the floor of the seated player; and string bass: large enough for player to stand or lean against a high stool to play ii. Must be played with a bow drawn across the strings iii. Can be plucked (pizzicato), strummed, or tapped with the wooden bow for special effects c. Woodwinds i. Consists of only wooden-bodied instruments, including the piccolo, flute, oboe, English horn, clarinet, and the bassoon. ii. Piccolo and flute: played horizontally by blowing across a hole near one end iii. Clarinet and saxophone are played by blowing on a single reed (piece of wood) iv. Oboe, English horn, and bassoon are played by blowing on a double reed (piece of wood) d. Brass instruments i. Consists of trumpet, trombone, French horn, and the tuba ii. Rang
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