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date: 23 July 2024

tone-colour (Fr.: timbre; Ger.: Klangfarbe; It.: timbro). 

Source:
The Oxford Companion to Music
Author(s):
Jane BellinghamJane Bellingham

The quality of sound characteristic of a particular type of instrument or voice, as opposed to its register or pitch. Thus a violin sounds distinct from a flute even when playing exactly the same note; similarly, the tone-colour produced by a boy treble differs from that of a female soprano. Even within a single instrument type the tone-colour can vary depending on the manner of performance: for example, an open string on a violin has a different quality from the same note played when using the finger to stop a string; likewise, playing closer to the bridge also affects the instrument's timbre. This variation in tone-colour results primarily from the particular combination of harmonics produced by an instrument.... ...

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