To dive a bit deeper into what give the instrument it's timbre:
As we know from experience, each instrument as well as voices have different timbres.
Well, sit down for this one....
When sent into vibration, all matter in the universe will in turn vibrate the air around it and reach our ears and be processed as the phenomenon of sound.
BUT not only is their this single vibration coming from the object, but also AN INFINITE SERIES OF TONES ABOVE THE MAIN TONE WE CALL THE OVERTONE SERIES.
Science time is over!
Okay, once more - when ever we hear a pitch (vibration) from an instrument or voice, or even an untuned piece of wood or metal, we will also hear a bunch of other really quiet pitches above the fundamental tone.
AND DEPENDING ON THE SPECIFIC MAKEUP OF THE AMPLITUDE (HOW LOUD) OF EACH OF THESE TONES IS, THAT WILL GIVE THE SOUNDING OBJECT ITS TIMBRE!
for example: maybe all flutes have the even overtones louder (2nd 4th 6th), while clarinets have all odd overtones louder (3th 5th 7th), this would process in our brain as the difference in sound between a flute and clarinet.
And perhaps, the ever so slight difference in sound between my clarinet and your clarinet is determined by a small difference in my overtone's amplitudes and your's
Lastly, each of these overtones gets more are more relatively quiet than the last, 2nd is the loudest, then 3rd, then 4th, ect.
I hope I didn't loose you in their talking about vibrations and tones and whatnot, but just remember, music is vibrations.
We tune these vibrations and set them in fancy orders to create music.
What gives us so many beautiful different timbres is the differences in the loudness of each tone in the overtone series, which sounds over any and all vibrations.
If you want to keep going on this topic, visit my blog!
This lesson goes on to talk about how the overtone series affects the way all music harmony in our universe works!
See you there