What Is Timbre?

- Jun 19, 2018-

In addition to clear discrimination of loudness and pitch, human ear can accurately determine the timbre of the sound. The frequency composition of different instruments is quite different. For example, even if the violin and the piano play the same high notes, people can quickly tell which one is the sound of the piano and which is the sound of the violin and not confused with each other. This is because they have the same pitch when playing the same note, but their harmonic components (overtones) are very different in quantity, frequency and intensity. It is because of the different composition of these harmonics that they give each instrument its unique tone. The timbre is mainly related to the frequency structure of the sound. In fact, most of the vibrations of musical instruments are not simply simple harmonic vibrations, but are formed by the superposition of many different simple vibrations, and the harmonic frequencies of these simple harmonic vibrations satisfy an integral multiple relationship. Among them, the lowest frequency is called the fundamental frequency, and the basic harmonic is called the fundamental wave and the simple harmonic wave whose frequency is an integer multiple of the fundamental frequency is called harmonic in the music vocabulary. It is because of the different compositional proportions of harmonics that they are endowed with unique timbres for various instruments and vocals. If there is no harmonic component, the simple fundamental harmonic signal has no musical sense.

In the process of sound transmission, in order to make the sound realistic, we must try our best to maintain the original tone. If some frequency components in the sound are zoomed in or out, it will cause changes in the timbre. Sometimes it is possible to use an equalizer to make appropriate adjustments to the timbre for a particular need. This shows that the equalizer can make some necessary modifications and adjustments to the timbre. This is another important basis for the use of equalizers.



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