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1. Describe the quality of sound that acoustic instruments produce

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3 Answers

The musical term is "timbre."  I am not too sure what you are referring to with the question.  The quality of sound is similar to a palette of colors.  You can use the quality of sound in any way you decide to.  This is what creates beauty in music.  The quality of sound of acoustic instruments is wide but fun.  You should listen to chamber music for this.  The mix of sounds coming from a flute, a violin, a cello, and a guitar altogether is just one way of mixing different sounds (qualities of sound) together.  If you believe it's the right sound for a piece of music, then nothing stops you from creating something unique.
Let me know if this helps.
Hi Michelle,
Gretchen is correct...
Furthermore different instruments WILL produce different sounds for the same pitch because they are made of different materials.  Materials in instrument A has various sound-wave qualities that differ from instruments B, C and D.  This is why an A note plucked on an acoustic guitar sounds different as compared to the same exact A note blown through say a trumpet.  The guitar is mostly made of wood and the trumpet is made of brass metal.  Wood and metal have different sound qualities.  Furthermore an A note plucked on an acoustic guitar sounds different as compared to the same exact A note that is plucked on an electric guitar because of the soundhole on the acoustic guitar which vibrates air molecules slightly different from that produced by the electric guitar pickups/amplifier combination.
The physics of sound wave theory is beyond the scope of this discussion but an instrument's sound quality can be computed mathimatically by it's Fourier series which reveals odd and even harmonics associated with a tone produced by instrument A.  The Fourier series of odd and even harmonics will be different between instruments for the same exact pitch note played , - like an A note.
In addition a guitar can be made to sound the same note (say A note) differently depending on the techniques applied before plucking the note.  Guitar attack on plucked notes is high, - so a technique called "volume swell" in which the guitarist plucks the note with volume OFF and then turns UP the volume will dampen the attack of this plucked A note; - thereby creating a different sound quality.
-Albert B.  West Nyack NY

Hi Michelle,

Each instrument and voice has its own unique timbre, a psychoacoustic term used to refer to a specific tone quality or "tone color." For example, a guitar sounds different from a piano, which sounds different from a saxophone, even when they are all sounding the same pitch. The "quality of sound" of any given acoustic (or electric) instrument will be dependent on its unique construction; you would need to clarify which instrument in particular you would like to describe.

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