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44

Music has nearly infinite potential for subtlety, and yes, drums might seem more simple on the surface, but after a few years in music school you'll be tuning drum heads every time you sit down at a snare drum, have a mallet collection that weighs 30 pounds, and enjoy discussing the relative merits of different origin rosewood on your marimba. Most people ...


38

They are not identical. The differences are suble, but often audible. Different implementations of both oscillators and specific waveforms will yield slightly different timbres. The rest of the signal path also plays a role, like amps overdriving, and filters adding character themselves (some filters can't be completely bypassed, even when the knob is turned ...


35

Your teacher is referring to the Doctrine of Ethos which was for the Greeks, a belief that listening to a certain type of music influenced your mood or character as a person. Throughout the centuries, this belief has taken various forms - from the key of Eb used in marches for nobility, D major being joyous, C minor being introspective, D minor being "the ...


21

There's a little bit of key noise and the rate of damper drop and any resulting damper noises are affected by release. At the highest levels of performance and tone, these noises are important even if they are very quiet. Besides that fairly minor audible impact, my understanding of release is that it is a combination of ergonomic and visual. Piano ...


20

I highly recommend reading What Every Pianist Needs to Know About the Body by Thomas Mark. The answer to this question has a lot to do with the action of the piano itself, but it has more to do with the way you move your muscles to play. The answer to your question is explained in detail in Chapter 7, entitled "Mapping The Piano". To paraphrase the first ...


18

Certainly, electronic instruments have timbre. Every audible sound does! The aspects of timbre that are measurable and quantifiable can be measured and quantified for all sounds. One of the most common ways of looking at timbre quantifiably is by doing a Fourier analysis, creating a chart of energy at different frequencies and how that changes over time. ...


17

The sounds in the songs you've listed are actually pretty different to my ears, but I'll try to generalize and go through some examples. Here is the raw line for reference. This is a modified strat with an EMG-SA in the neck position. This is important because EMG is an active pickup so the signal level is higher. This means it will distort sooner. So keep ...


16

Capo quality matters, but not for tone. A better capo may give you more even tension on the strings, it may be more convenient to use, or maybe it's made of more durable materials or components that can be services or replaced as they wear. The guitar's tone will only become affected if the capo throws the strings out of tune differently across the neck, ...


16

This is a terrific, and very important, question! Have you ever heard a recording of yourself speaking? Did it come across as odd to you? Did you ever think "that's not how I sound!"? The same is often true when we play an instrument. In fact, playing an instrument is even more complex. In a kind of auditory McGurk Effect, our brain has to distinguish ...


13

Unlikely, because unless your child has a genetic reason for being unable to distinguish pitches (which you apparently may, if what you say is true), he or she will soon learn to identify the inaccuracies in your singing. For example, there has been some noise about bilingual families and a fear that the non-native parent will "infect" the child with bad ...


13

It is mainly because increasing the number of instruments in a section does not actually make the section much louder, mostly it just makes it sound “denser”. Any doubling of the number of unisono instruments effectively increases their volume by 3 dB. Note that dB is a logarithmic scale, corresponding to the ears' response. In other words, to effect a ...


13

Brand doesn't matter at all, in my opinion. Most of the big names do make their own strings (contrary to some rumors you'll hear on the internet) but they're all using the same processes, similar or identical machines, and probably exactly the same materials - because wire drawing is somewhat specialized, and the volumes of guitar strings isn't that big ...


13

Is it accurate to say synths have timbre? Yes. an identical note played on piano versus a cello can epitomize timbre whereby the material and playing method of the instruments can be heard to be distinct. We do not hear the material or the playing method of an instrument directly. We hear vibrations in the air that are set in motion by the instrument. ...


12

Most musicians constantly fuss over how they sound. It is understandable, given the way we communicate using sound; we want our sound to be the best sound we can create. So, you are not alone here. It is important for you to learn to separate the sound from your self-worth as a human being. You ask your friends to be specific, but you need to be specific: ...


12

Thicker picks (tend to) remain in contact with the string longer. The impulse provided to the string is of longer duration. A longer duration pulse imparts more lower frequency and less higher frequency content. Imagine the thick pick, at an angle, coming in to hit the string. It strikes the string, which starts to move along with the pick, but the pick ...


12

It seems to me that the definition of timbre that uses "overtones" to describe qualitative differences between sounds of the same frequency and amplitude does not take into account the shape of the waveform. The shape of the waveform is different because of the differences in the levels of the overtones. Or, to put it another way - the shape of the ...


12

These measurements aren't totally accurate, as they've rounded to the nearest half inch to make it look nice. It also looks like you've built a "transposing" pan flute- your "C" is actually an A, and it should play in A major, not C major. Anyway, to find the theoretical correct length for each straw, you want to divide the wavelength of ...


11

A key's color, quality and difficulty are largely instrument dependent. For example, Bb minor rarely involves open strings on the stringed instruments and has fewer natural harmonic possibilities than, say, A minor. This leads to a "darker" sound on strings.


11

There are many different styles and types of capo, all with the same end product in mind. However, they do differ a lot. Some are dead straight, to work with flat fingerboards. Others have a radius which approximately matches the fingerboard radius on cambered fingerboards. The way they attach to the neck varies too, and some are very easy to move up and ...


10

You should pay attention to your singing. Tone-deafness is a result of a disconnection between what are you hear and what you produce. It is generally fixable through conscious attention. I work developing musical training computer games for children. My mother sang to me as a child, and she is tone-deaf. I also learned to sing in a tone deaf manner. We ...


10

The dirt and grime that comes from distortion is a result of notes with frequency relationships beyond those that are very simple ratios (e.g. 2:1=an octave, and 3:2=a fifth) going through the distortion process together. This results in sum and difference frequencies being produced that seem only distantly related to the notes being played, resulting in an ...


10

Always remember one thing: the sound that you hear depends on the device you are getting the output through. As you say, you like the sound through your amp but not from the software, this is because you probably use the same settings on your pedalboard when you plug it into the interface as you do when you plug it into the amp. You need to check the output ...


10

No difference. The strings vibrate from where they're fretted, or the nut when open, to the saddles on the bridge. If they had a centimetre or a metre hanging off - no difference, apart from getting in the way, or vibrating against something else causing annoyance.


10

In the common 12-edo tuning, the octave is divided in 12 equally-spaced steps (hence equal divisions of the octave). What's meant my “equal” is that the frequency ratio between subsequent notes is always the same, or equivalently the logarithm of the frequencies of neighbouring notes always have the same difference. The other way around, it means that the ...


9

You are correct that the side-key trill is not a very good sound. There is really no way to produce a better trill for that one combo of notes. We all live with it.


9

Destructive interference would effect what you hear, but that doesn't change the composition. You could do other things to make a performance or playback inaudible, like move very far away or put a jackhammer next to the listener. Interfere however you like, that won't change the composition, because the composition is purely conceptual.


9

The relevant part of the etymology of tone is: from Greek tonos "vocal pitch, raising of voice, accent, key in music," originally "a stretching, tightening, taut string," related to teinein "to stretch" Note that many of those meanings seem to have to do with stretching and preparing an instrument or voice to produce a (...


9

As suggested in the comments, this is far more down to how the snare is being recorded than any particular properties of the drum itself. The 'attack' of the snare hit is broader and less focussed than you would get on say a Deftones record, that is, the drum is recorded in such a way as that the inital drum hit is spread out over a wider amount of time – ...


8

Bb is the natural scale starter for brass combos, so Bb minor is a natural for funeral marches. Brass instruments are decidedly not equally tempered, so different minors have different characters. If you are playing a natural trumpet (valveless), and that's sort of the instrument type that was quite a bit around when the key associations were established, ...


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