Timbre 03

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Harrison’s Playlist

Total Control – Glass

All instruments in this track sound synthetic, except for the vocals. Even the percussive elements are fake, as each clap or tambourine hit sounds exactly the same. This makes the song sound mechanical and precise, but also fake, as the tone of the percussive elements appears cheap and compressed. This is in stark contrast with the dark male voice, which cuts across the bright synthesizers and percussive grooves.

The Coneheads – Notha Thing

The voices in this track sound unenthusiastic and chant-like. The guitar sounds are a mix of chords and plucking. All the guitar sounds are sped up significantly, which makes it all sound muffled and chaotic. The guitar plucking produces unsteady tones that seem to waver from lick to lick.

Rahsaan Roland Kirk – The Inflated Tear

Kirk utilizes a series of percussive elements, including some rattlers and whistles. The attacks of each instrument sounds impulsive and the lack of defined pitches on the rattlers means that they oscillate up and down a wide range of frequencies. Kirk appears to be playing an alto, soprano and tenor saxophones simultaneously, producing eerie, steady chords. After establishing some chords, Kirk grabs his soprano saxophone exclusively and floats through a melody. The soprano produces clean notes with some modulation, and Kirk frequently avoids playing staccato.

Software – Island Sunrise

This track features a lot of echo and reverb. The percussion samples are similar to those in Glass by Total Control. A synthesized vibraphone produces a lot of the melody in this song, along with synthetic woodblocks. The vibraphone produces a sound with some vibrato and the notes appear to shimmer. The synthesizers swell to indicate a transition in the song.

US Maple – state is bad

The electric guitar sound on this track is muddy, dissonant, and distorted. The drums are clean and relatively present in the mix. The male vocalist sounds sick, and the lyrics are often unintelligible. He frequently adds small inflections at the end of some phrases, which results in sense of hysteria. Inhale sounds are present on the vocal track.

DJ Rashad – Feelin

Footwork uses lots of fat bass pulses with minimal attack and lots of fast paced syncopated rhythms. The saxophone that is sampled in the song has been altered with extra echo. Similarly, the vocals are high pitched and muddy due to the reverb and echo. The underlying groove, which is comprised of layered notes from a modulated electric piano, sounds warm yet foreign.

Mort Garson – Plantasia

This song features lots of synthesized notes. A synthetic vibrating whistle with minimal attack produces the initial melody. A harp or other stringed instrument is playing arpeggios in the background. The notes sound iridescent and shimmering.

The Jesus Lizard – Then Comes Dudley

The drums in this track are loud and heavy with lots of attack. Similarly, the initial guitar melody is piercing. The bass notes are distorted and rumbly. The guitar sounds angular and frantic. The vocals are oddly subdued, at least initially, which is a welcome change. Later in the song, there’s a “chukka chukka chukka” from the guitar, which provides a very distorted, muddy sound with lots of attack.

Dorothy Ashby – The Windmills of your Mind

A harp is used to produce the melody in this song. It’s sound is shimmering with short attacks and long decays. There are audible overtones.

Matias Aguayo – Rollerskate

Human voice is the only instrument in this song. The baseline of the song sounds like a low hum, almost like they are singing from the bottom of their stomachs. The baseline has a lot of depth and audible vibrato to it. The individual notes in the “groove” sound short, with lots of attack and short decay.

Goat – Goathead

The most striking element of this song is the loud, heavily modulated and distorted guitar tones during transitions and solos. It sounds like it’s trying to mimic someone angrily screaming. To serve as a pleasant contrast the screatching guitars, the last two minutes of the song is made up of a calm guitar duet. One player is providing the bass, the other is playing a melody. The bass player’s notes are round and long. The timbre of the melody is short, punchy notes with some reverb.

Super Jazz des Jeunes – Vacances

This song opens with a sustained trill from the trumpet section. The trill is high pitched and lasts for several measures. The trumpet players oscillate between two notes to produce the trill. The trumpet sound in general is very fat, with very short attack. It almost sounds squeaky. The sound of the saxophone is low, steady and provides a subdued response to the trumpet attacks.

Isaac’s Playlist: As him for the Dropbox link if you like!

My first thought about timbre was about what it meant for timbre to be used actively by an artist. I thought it was weird for timbre to be thought of something to be implemented, since what I originally thought of it basically just boiled down to sound quality. I thought about how claiming that a possibly “exotic” culture’s music has more to do with timbre than other music probably had a lot to do with how our western ears are not used to the foreign sounding instruments. But then I started to think a little more productively, and was hit by my obvious first choice.

1. Song: Butterfly
By: Herbie Hancock

-This song has an incredibly low horn in it that just has an amazing sound. It is so low and growly, it just has an incredible timber, it almost steals the show from that percussion sound that plays right at the end of each line in the introduction. The pairing of all the instruments off of this incredibly low horn works to make a very nice mood that feels great when it drops out to the percussive “dwooooop” sound later on in the song. I think the choice to use that low horn is a very active use of timbre by Herbie Hancock, and a decision that made use of an instrument that I don’t think could really be thought of as exotic. But it definitely shakes up a funk song.

2. Song: Watermelon Man
By: Herbie Hancock

-Just to follow up the last one, this is another funk song by the same artist that is another great use of an instrument that has a very specific sound being used in a funk context that it would probably be considered outside of. Also the sound in the beginning sets up a rhythm that is connected to breathing, which plays a big part in the instrument’s timbre. And this rhythm plays off the funk that comes in over it.

3. Song: Fire
By: Lee Asano Ryuhei

-This song is produced by a sample based Japanese producer who goes by Lee (Asano+Ryuhei). Lee uses samples of all types of genres and has a very personal approach to sampling and I think is interesting to think of in regards to timbre. Because I would say the timbre of a sampled song comes mainly from the sound quality of the sample as a whole, which the producer can affect in many ways. But with specifically this song, I think Lee is mainly showing off his ear because it sounds like he does barely anything to the sample as far as making it his own. He plays out an intro part which then just goes into a loop that he plays audio clips over. The song does transition into a couple of other parts, but still Lee’s hand in very minimal. And if he did introduce things like his own drum sounds or edited the main loop in some other ways, it is hard to pinpoint what he did without knowing the sample. But timbre wise the voice in the intro is just incredible at that high a pitch.

4. Song: Simoon
By: Yellow Magic Orchestra

-This song is also a song that came to mind when thinking of timbre, or at least sound quality. I had a hard time at first thinking if I consider a synth as having a timbre. And synths is basically all this song is. But in the end I just reasoned that a synth is just very basic timbre, since it allows the player to control what’s happening wave wise and also overtone wise. Synths have timbre that could maybe said to not be complex since they produce a sound that doesn’t layer a large number of waves from other parts of how the instrument is made. But the player can introduce different wave forms and layer them and do many other things to affect a synths sound quality. So a synth doesn’t have timbre like how a guitar might, but what makes a synth’s timbre recognizable I guess would be how it lacks the complexity of a timbre produced more naturally. Even though a synth can produce many different sound qualities, maybe its lack of depth could be what joins synth sounds under some understanding of what its timbre could be. Any way this song uses the synth’s sound qualities and punchy little digital drums to create a pretty happy video game mood. And this mood acts as a little stage for the lovely synth leads but especially the one with the more dissonance, and the spacey voices that come later.

5. Song: The first song off the album Seichô Takeuchi Bushi
By: Takeshi Terauchi and the Bunnys

-I love this Japanese surf rock group and pairing traditional Japanese sounds from instruments like a shamisen, and surf rock is just genius. There isn’t a literal pairing in this song, but just the relation between the two’s sound quality of plucking, and also the plucking patterns is a very interesting thing to consider!

6. Song: Portrait of Tracy
By: Jaco Pastorius

-This song implements the sound of a bass guitar’s harmonics beautifully. My inclusion of this song mainly has to do just with harmonics and their direct relation to timbre. But I also see the appeal of harmonics on stringed instruments relating to how they allow the instrument to make a note of a different timbre. This makes Jaco’s composition and choice to mainly use harmonics an active decision to make the overall timbre that of piece the purer harmonic sound. This make the normal fretted notes have an interesting sound quality by comparison, which is an interesting little device. Also since it’s a solo piece the pure harmonics seem to also put a lot of emphasis on the non-musical sounds that the listener can hear in this isolated instance of bass playing. There are a couple of very pretty long held notes where the string can be heard buzzing against his bass’s fingerboard.

7. Song: Let Love Flow On
By: Sonya Spence

-This is one of my favorite songs, which I found after a very long period of listening to mainly electric and highly produced music. I fell in love with the sound of Sonya Spence’s voice immediately. It sounds like it is flicking at some points, especially when she sings “let love flow on”. I love listening to the control she has of her phrasing and rhythm she implements in her singing and is made especially strong due to the timbre of her voice.

8. Song: Girls
By: Oliver

-Oliver is a producer I found on Soundcloud, from I believe New Zealand (he is also incredibly nice! He emailed me this song after taking it down because I told him I missed it!). The lead melody of the sample has this really nice whistle like sound. If I remember correctly, I believe the original sample makes this sound by layering a guitar with something else, but in this beat it appears to us as one unified sound. And That is where the interest lies for me when thinking about active use of timbre. Oliver has affected the sample to make the overall timbre of the original song appear as one, and then pairs this sound with some lo-fi buzz and drums, and a deeper sound that makes the whistle dance over it all.

9. Song: It’s Changed
By: Lonnie Liston Smith

-The groove of this song, comprised of the drums, bass, keys, and horns make a really nice quality for George Benson’s guitar melody to take the focus of in the beginning of the song. And they focus the pleasantness of his picking and just how round his notes feel. Like how the relaxed overall feel he has contradicts the plucky timbre someone might express from a stringed instrument, I guess what I’m getting at is his attack, which feels a lot less immediate than Lonnie Liston Smith’s first hand full of notes in his solo on some keys, or at least he implements something I would describe as plucky with the shorter notes he plays. But the initial thing that interested me timbre wise is how his keys sound like a wailing guitar around the 1:20 mark in the song. I think his phrasing makes very good use of his instrument’s sound quality. Also just as a side note George Benson completely shreds at the end of the song.

10. Song: My Little Girl
By: Bobbi Humphry

-This song is fairly incredible in my opinion. But the main thing that stuck out to me is how the voice and flute play off each other in the beginning of the song. The two different timbre have a handful of moments where they go from sounding like two distinct qualities, and then slide into each other seamlessly. It’s like The flute and voice transform into each other. And I think this has to do with the similarities they have both being connected to human breath. They mimic each other in how they swell as the other maybe descends, or the wavering of the voice after it holds the note from the word “gleems”, and sounds like a flute playing struggling to hold a note or something. I think this a super smart and active use and play with timbre.

Susung’s Playlist

1. This music is from a animated movie that I watched when I was a kid. That particular music stuck out to me and I still remember it to this day. The way that the piano sound smooths and fades out after almost every beat group makes me feel protected and warm. The music pace is slow and it places lot of emphasis on the resonance after every piano key press. It removes any of stringent or sharp tone which creates an undisrupted flow. I tended to seek this music when I felt emotionally distressed and it has always made me calm.

2. The next piece is Korean traditional music called “Samul Nori.” Its fast pace and loud percussion sounds makes it good fit for festivals. When I read about the RaRa in Haiti, this music came into my mind. The music has no vibrato and feels piercing and discontinuous. However, at the same time, the fast striking of the drums, resonance from gongs, and the clanging metals fills the gaps in the discontinuity and creates somewhat of a continuous flow. The instruments came from Korea and this type of Korean traditional music was played during festivals throughout Korean history

3. This piece is a classical music by Mozart. The string and wind instruments provide low and wide background for the piano. Piano sound is focused and simple and feels as if the piano keystrokes are controlling the flow of the string and wind instruments. My parents have played many classical music on the speakers when I was a child. Out of many classical music, this music has stood out to me because of its smooth and mellow sound.

4. The next piece is a Japanese Folk Music. It’s comprised of string instruments which produces sharp but resonant sound. It’s fast pace doesn’t put much emphasis on the resonance but the every string stroke has short but sharp vibrato. Its sharp and melodic sounds produce clear and bright music. The instruments used in this music sounds similar to the instruments used in Korean traditional music, indicating that there were musical cultural influences between two countries in history.

5. This song is by a Korean artist who wanted to do Reggae. The voice of the artist is husky and rough but his undertone voice makes the music abrasive but smooth at the same time. The beat of the music is periodic and enables the listener to expect what the beat will be throughout the song. It creates less focus towards paying attention to the beat and more attention towards the artist’s voice. The music compliments the artist’s smooth and flow like voice nicely, creating a breathy upbeat sound. It was interesting to see how music genre from places excluding America and Europe had influence in Korea.

6. This music is a Native American Shoshone music. The sound of the wind instruments and its vibrato dominate the space in this song. Drum beats and nature sound compliment the wind sound as well as provide rhythm. The music switches back and forth between slow upbeat rhythm and low harmonic sound. The combination of man-made instruments, biophony, and geophony creates grand, wide, and peaceful sound.

7. This instrumental music is an Indonesian Traditional Music. The music consists of different tone of bells striking and its resonance. Although the bells produce sharp sound, the resonance produced by striking bells creates continuity. The beat is fast paced and follows a strict rhythm. Overall, I think this music creates melodic and upbeat environment and also feels natural and clean.

8. This music is Pansori, one of the traditional music in Korea, used mainly for entertainment by storytelling. The sound of the drum compliments the dominant voice created by the singer and sets the pace of the story. The voice of the singer produces loud and high pitched sound but less resonance and more vibrato. The voice also sounds piercing and focussed at times, and creates emphasis in parts of the words in the story. This traditional music was more targeted towards theater-like performance compared to Samul Nori where its loud banging sounds are suited towards festivals.

9. This music is a German folktale music, which I stumbled on while searching for European music. Although I’ve never heard of it, the folktale-like tone and rhythm are very familiar. The purpose of folktale is to tell a story through the music and I think the voices and instrumental sound goes well together. The instruments create somewhat poignant and melodic flow and the voices follow to the direction of the music. The music feels like it reflects the medieval era.

10. This song is one of the early production of rap music in Korean culture. The artist is famous for his ability to speak fast. The music has a classical genre component topped with drum beats. It feels light flat because there aren’t large variations in different notes used. Also, the notes played by the violin are drawn out. The artist raps over the music, and it’s relatively fast paced compared to the pace of the music. However, the fast rapping dominates the passive space created by the instruments and the music feels harmonized when the two come together.

Thomas’s Playlist

Feather – Nujabes

Feather by Nujabes can overall be described as possessing a smooth, mellow timbre. It starts out biophonically, with a synthetically composed overtone and a bass-like undertone. As the song progresses, it becomes polyphonic, with the addition of percussion, creating an accompanying melody. The reason I describe it as a smooth and mellow timbre is because of the repetition of the “instrumental” being played and the range of notes that is being played, and it is this tone color that initially drew me to the piece. It opened me up to a world of “chillhop” music, guided mainly by the artist Nujabes. Listening to this piece invokes imagery of a very laid back setting, with people conversing with a volume that doesn’t overpower but rather complements the music. In this setting, light sources are at a minimal, almost as if to refrain from disturbing the mellow mood.

Animal – Miike Snow

What I liked about Animal is the use of voice in two different ways. The difference in voice quality makes it seem almost heterophonic. The two ways the voice is used is a muffled version, perhaps something you would hear normally hear through headphones. But coming right after that is a voice that you can imagine hearing live, complete with the echo. The contrast of the voices provides it with an authentic feel, and pushes me to describe it as having a warm timbre. The synthetically composed music accompanying this follows the same suit. After 8 counts, it seems the volume of the music and the parts used to form it gives it almost a “in the moment” kind of feeling.

Better Together – Jack Johnson

Better Together utilizes a homophonic texture that turns into a biophonic one when a bass instrumental is being played and then a polyphonic one with percussion acting to supplement the main guitar formed melody. The timbre of the instruments being used give it a light, rounded, warm, and mellow feeling. This music brings about feelings of joy and freedom. It invokes images of being in a circle with everyone swaying to the song, each individual inputting their own music form that culminates in what you hear in the song.

Tunak Tunak Tun – Daler Mehndi

This song was popularized on the internet, with many people spreading it due to its uniqueness and repetitive lyrics that westerners can easily repeat. It is produced with a bright, light, and sharp timbre. The polyphonic melody consists of a deep undertone that is made up of both a tambourine-like instrument as well as a deep bass instrument. Overlaid on that is the beat of higher pitched percussion instruments. The image associated with this song is that of a uplifting gathering in which people are dancing and enjoying themselves. The festivities begin with this song, however, they do not end with it. Especially with this song, I easily imagine a Bollywood style celebration.

Not Spring, Love, or Cherry Blossoms (봄,사랑,벚꽃 말고) – IU

This song is a subtler version of K-pop, with it following a more feathery, mellow, warm, and light timbre. The use of polyphonic textures helps support different portions of the song, with the bass and the guitar supporting the vocals and the percussion supporting the rap. The volume of the voice as well as the tone in which it is sung helps create this warm uplifting feeling set forth by the song. The melody supports the light-heartedness of the song by maintaining its low volume as well. This songs allows me to visualize an idealistic music videoesque scene, with people seemingly carelessly wandering down the street while singing this. What drew me to this song was the emotion that IU, the artist, was trying to push forth, to which I can almost resonate with.

Sweet Escape – Alesso

Sweet Escape is a more modern song, one that falls under the general genre of EDM. Although most likely produced on a synthesizer, the usage of instruments gives it a light, warm, and mellow timbre. It begins with a short and light violin playing of notes, followed by vocals and other instruments. This genre of music emphasizes the mix of notes and sounds to liven up the body and mind, and with it I can imagine just being free of the earth, with the upbeat music surrounding and permeating my body.

The Ocean – Mike Perry

The Ocean by Mike Perry is a song that puts me in a very good mood. Listening to it, I am immediately put in a state that makes me want to just get in a car and take a nice long road trip, complete with the sun beating down on my back and arms and the wind flowing through my hair all while blasting this song. I believe it to possess a very light, warm, sharp, and full timbre. Though there are vocals, the focus is still on the melody of the track and the vocals are more of a supportive feature rather than the other way around. It reminds me of the summer when my friend first introduced me this song and really brings about emotions of longing for something.

分分鐘需要你 – George Lam

This song, meaning you’re important, maintains it’s light and warm tone and mood through the timbre of the vocals as well as slow and soft instrumental playing. Since I heard this song when I was watching a drama that focuses on the importance of family, I associate this song with my childhood or my family. In addition, its lightness represents the importance of the idea that no matter what, everything is going to be okay.

Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

Bohemian Rhapsody is a very well known song, but what drew me to it is first off the beginning of the song where the distinguishable human voices blend together well, as well as the shift in the middle of the song that initially made me think that it was a separate song

altogether. The voices contain a very dark yet smooth timbre, but does not fail to exhibit a full-bodied sound. This kind of timbre reminds me of older music or oldies in a sense. I relate it to a lot more rock type songs or something that I would expect to sing along with loudly and without care for how I sound and the goal being to enjoy myself along within a crowd that follows suit.

Piano Man – Billy Joel

This song is another one of what I consider to be an oldie. It starts out monophonically, but turns biophonic and eventually polyphonic. Towards the beginning of the song, only the piano is being played and afterwards, the harmonica fills in the gaps between the vocals and eventually the percussion serves as an undertone to it all. The instruments being played like this give off a very mellow, breathy, dark, and mellow form of timbre. When hearing this song, I quickly think back to the past, being in a crowd just enjoying the music being played just like with Bohemian Rhapsody. To others, it is easily associated with the bar environment, being in a joyful, reminiscent state.

Tony’s Playlist

  1. The Fellowship of the Ring Soundtrack-02-Concerning Hobbits

This composition for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack begins with a homophonic texture of the tin whistle which produces an airy, mellow and wafting timbre.  The musical piece moves to the violin, which creates a lively, poetic and whimsical timbre.  The presence of the tin whistle brings the feeling of “world music” or folk music of a generic distant land.  This musical composition also brings a feeling of peace and calmness that is used very well in the movie.  Even though I have only watched The Lord of the Rings once, I still remember the scene where this music is played and the hobbit children running toward Gandalf’s cart in the country side.

  1. Secrets by OneRepublic for Violin and Cello, performed by Nathan Chan and Clara Chan

This instrumental cover of OneRepublic’s “Secrets” starts off with the cello being looped. The timbre of the cello is mellow, solemn and warm while the violin is more lively, merry and dancing.  In the cover, there are moments with biophonic texture where the loop of the cello substances the drone, and the violin takes over.  I was present at the recording of this musical cover and I still remember how well the cello and violin complimented each other in this piece.  I was also in awe and amazed with the talent of duo, who are brother and sister.

  1. See You Again (Dizi and Guzheng Cover)

This cover of OneRepublic’s “Secrets” uses the dizi and guzheng, both of which are traditional Chinese instruments. The guzheng is a plucked string instrument with 21 strings while the dizi is commonly referred as a Chinese bamboo flute. The dizi timbre of the dizi is unique, penetrating and rich.  The guzheng timbre is pristine, elegant, melodious and noble.  I enjoy this song because the musicians used traditional Chinese instruments to cover a modern hip hop song.

  1. Yiruma – Kiss the Rain

The piano composition of “Kiss the Rain” by Yiruma features a homophone texture that is repeated throughout the song. The timbre of the piano is empty but soft and relaxing like a lullaby.  The slow tempo and melancholy piece brings a feeling of somberness.  However, I like listening to this composition while falling asleep because it reminds me a lullaby and brings me the feeling of home and comfort.

  1. Christina Perri – A Thousand Years (Piano/Cello Cover) – ThePianoGuys

The timbre of the piano and the cello is put on display with this lovely cover of Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years”. The difference in timbre between the piano and cello is best demonstrated in the middle of the cover since both instruments play the same notes in the slow/moderate tempo.  The piano brings a sweeter and unsullied timbre while the cello brings a deeper, thicker and transcendental timbre. The combination of the piano and cello, especially for this song, is elegant, pure and beautiful. I liked how the musicians used the cello as a drum and a guitar to add untraditional timbre to their music, since the musicians only use piano and cello in all their covers.

  1. Chinese Opera

The Chinese opera has its origins thousands of years ago. In this performance, there are moments of biophonic texture, similar to the Tuvan throat singing.  The tempo of the piece is fast and there are crescendos and surges in pace throughout the song.  The vocal timbre is intense, aggressive, piercing and even shrill.

  1. Let It Be – atles: Michael Province & Nathan Chan on Violin and Cello

This instrumental cover of the Beatle’s “Let It Be” has both the violin and cello. The violin has a timbre of liveliness and vibrancy while the cello feels heavy and earthly. The combination with the violin playing the higher pitches and the cello being in the background, brings a feeling of lushness, gentles and warmness.  I like how Nathan and Michael both plucked their stringed instruments to create unique and rich timbre to their music. The violin plucking reminded me of the timbre of an ukulele, with its plucking being brighter and high pitch than the cello.

  1. Hello – Adele Cover for Cello and Viola | Nathan Chan and ThatViolaKid

This instrumental cover of Adele’s “Hello” starts off with homophonic texture with the cello before the solo with the viola. The timbre of the cello is resonant, raspy, muffled and solemn while the timbre of the viola is warm, robust and powerful.  In the middle of the cover, there is polyphonic texture, where the cello and viola are both serving as equally important parts simultaneously.  Their combination forms a rich, lively and warm sound.

  1. Viva La Vida by Coldplay for 5 Cellos – String Theory

This cover of “Viva La Vida” is an instrumented with five different cellos. The original track’s upbeat riff, with some string and percussion instruments made me curious whether this song could be covered using just the cello.  The cello evokes a gentle, heavy and deep timbre to this song that is usually not present with its livelier and dancier versions.

  1. Beijing opera Peking opera

The Peking opera feature vocal timbre that is very high-pitched and nasally. The timbre of the opera is shrill, tense and piercing, with steady acceleration of the pace and periodic tonal inflections. In the background, there is a Chinese orchestra with strings and percussion sections.  Since the vocals are so high pitched and continuous, the singers are very well trained in breathing and vocal pronunciation.  The composition also has various singers to allow for intervals of breathing.  This piece is memorable because it evokes memories of my childhood.  When I was a toddler, my father liked to play Chinese opera music and I always hated the shrills and high-pitched nature of the songs.


Kirk Cameron

Music Cultures


Timbre Playlist – Track Annotations


Youtube playlist link:


Kokopelli Latin Jazz Ensemble – Wisdom

The drums throughout most of this song add an organic brightness to the tone color which would be otherwise absent if it consisted only of the piano and bass guitar. The saxophone adds an unfocused, breathy, darkness.  The flute adds some focus in the piercing nature of its tone, and adds energy and warmth in its occasional vibrato.  The bass guitar adds a mellow breadth to this tonal painting.

Aphex Twin – minipops 67 [120.2]

The opening timbre of this song is heavy, dense, and resonant. A tonal warmth is perpetuated by the opening drum and maraca-esque effect. This dense percussive timbre complements to the song’s rythmic momentum.  The first futuristic voice cools the song’s percussive energy, while the second, higher-pitched voice adds height and a warm breathiness.

Pandit Kamalesh Maitra – Raga Deen Todi

The timbre of this piece is as airy as it is broad, but dominated by broader elements. Its tone color is a resonant and mossy.  A sense of movement to and fro is added by the lower-pitched drums.  The timbre of these drums is rounded, but this roundness can be concave as well as convex.  Tonal energy and brightness is added to this swaying drone by a higher-pitched set of drums.

Jeff Beal – Making History

The opening of this song is focused, reedy, and dark. Tonal height is added by the accompaniment of orchestral string instruments.  The orchestra seems to sigh repeatedly as the song progresses, adding a distinct breathiness.  As tonal stridence increases later in the song’s escalation, so does its airy height.

Martin O’Donnell & Michael Salvatori – Black Tower

The opening of this song is dark, reedy, resonant, and broad. The unfocused, breathy voice adds to the song’s forboding nature.  At 2:17 the tone color temporarily shifts to a warmer, uniquely strident character.

Daft Punk – Fresh

The tone color of this song is warm and sunny. The distorted guitar throughout this song adds resonance and heat.  Its vibrato is paced and steady.  The tonal energy of the beat and guitar is cooled and soothed by the bubbly splashing sound of waves and a humming singer respectively.

Ryuichi Sakamoto – Out of Horse

The flue in this song adds a timbre which is light and pure but also uniquely rounded. It posesses a  moderate, weary vibrato.  The tonal color is a somber, cool grey.

Toto – Africa

The percussive opening of this song posesses a signature tone color expressed through its drums, cowbells, maracas, and other uniuqe, perhaps foreign instruments. It is well-rounded and heavy in its bassy resonance, but maintains moderate focus.

(Unknown Artist) – Marnin Neighba
(“Guyana Original Folk Songs. Vol. 01.wmv” 0:00-2:30)

This song is unfocused, light, and mellow in the timbral sense. The bass guitar adds a roundness to the timbre, while female backup singers add to the height of the tone.

Aphex Twin – Alberto Balsalm

This song posesses a deep and resonant timbre. It is airy and bright in its higher frequency registers, while its bassy elements seems to resonate from a dark chamber.  The wind instrument effect in this song is close in timbre to a bamboo flute.  These highs and lows are both mellow and unfocused.

Rajendra Prasanna – Marwa- Indian Bamboo flute- Bansuri

The sitar in this song adds a bright tonal focus, which is cooled by the airy bamboo flute. As the resonance of the flute increases, so does its own focus.  Drums add a dark, flattened moisture and movement to the tonally dry and narrow background drone of the sitar.

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