timbre


tim·bre

noun \ˈtam-bər, ˈtim-; ˈtam(brə)\

: the quality of the sound made by a particular voice or musical instrument

Full Definition of TIMBRE

:  the quality given to a sound by its overtones: as
a :  the resonance by which the ear recognizes and identifies a voiced speech sound
b :  the quality of tone distinctive of a particular singing voice or musical instrument
tim·bral \ˈtam-brəl, ˈtim-\ adjective

Variants of TIMBRE

tim·bre also tim·ber \ˈtam-bər, ˈtim-; ˈtam(brə)\

Examples of TIMBRE

  1. the timbre of his voice

Origin of TIMBRE

French, from Middle French, bell struck by a hammer, from Old French, drum, from Middle Greek tymbanon kettledrum, from Greek tympanon — more at tympanum
First Known Use: 1845

Rhymes with TIMBRE

tim·bre

noun    (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of TIMBRE

: the quality given to a sound by its overtones: as a : the resonance by which the ear recognizes and identifies a voiced speech sound b : the quality of tone distinctive of a particular singing voice or musical instrument
tim·bral \ˈtam-brəl, ˈtim-\ adjective

Variants of TIMBRE

tim·bre also tim·ber \ˈtam-bər, ˈtim-; ˈtam(brə)\

timbre

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

A mixture of three pure tones (top) yields a complex resultant tone (bottom), such as might be …—© Merriam-Webster Inc.

Quality of sound that distinguishes one instrument, voice, or other sound source from another. Timbre largely results from a characteristic combination of overtones produced by different instruments. This distinctive combination (which usually varies across the range of pitches) is what principally permits a listener to distinguish a clarinet from a flute, an alto from a tenor, or even a Stradivarius violin from a Guarneri violin, when both are sounding the same pitch. One element of timbre results from the differing methods of producing the sounds (blowing, bowing, striking, etc.), especially audible at the moment a note begins.

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