Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Talking about Timbre

As I mention in my book Whole Music, when I was a child I fell in love with timbre and the voices of the individual instruments we listened to in music class.  Each instrument conjured a specific emotions or feeling in me.  The French horn caused me to feel majestic and the cello invoked melancholy.  My moods would shift with each instrument that I heard and my moods would shift quickly.

Today, I listen to more than timbre, but I have an understanding of how tone, frequencies of the tone and timbre (the color of the tone) affect me on all levels.  And I wonder what listening to an entire symphony does with its many voices, themes, keys, musical passages etc... In the concept of "whole music" I prefer not to separate musical components, but in the case of this post, I will present solo instruments for your listening and feeling pleasure.

If you keep a music journal (and I hope that you do by now), write down the emotions that come up with each instrument.  Realize that each instrument supplies you with different frequencies or waves that make up the tone of that instrument and let's not forget that each strike of a note supplies us with rich overtones unique to that instrument.  Who knows, you might just welcome a new favorite into your life today.

The mood, theme and arrangement of the song will play roles in the effects on your mind-body-spirit.  However, pay close attention to the instrument's voice.

1. Solo oboe (not easy finding a lone oboe on YouTube, but here's one video)

2. Didgeridoo

3. Piano (Glenn Gould)

4. Ukulele

5. Trumpet (this is a short documentary on trumpet)

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