Wikis > Glossary > Timbre

Timbre, (pronounced TAM-ber, or Amber with a T sound), is the quality of a tone or the judgment generated from our mind’s merger of multiple sound waves into one tone.

Timbre is what allows us to distinguish an F# played on a violin from an F# in the voice of Miley Cyrus, for example, in Party in the USA.

Because timbre enables listeners of music to separate instruments or voices (whether in the musical sense closer to instrument or the vocal sense), it contributes to the experience of rhythm by allowing some separation of the different levels in the piece of music in question, which may have complementary beats or harmonies that drive the piece into divisions or allow the polyrhythmic experience to actually take place.