Zachary Wallmark and Roger A. Kendall
Timbre exists at the confluence of the physical and the perceptual, and due to inconsistencies between these frames, it is notoriously hard to describe. This chapter examines the relationship between timbre and language, offering a critical review of theoretical and empirical thought on timbre semantics and providing a preliminary cognitive linguistic account of timbre description. It first traces the major conceptual and methodological advances in psychological timbre research since the 1970s with a focus on the mediating role of verbalization in previous paradigms. It then discusses the cognitive mechanisms underlying how listeners map timbral qualities onto verbal attributes. Applying a cognitive linguistic approach, the chapter concludes that timbre description may reflect certain fundamental aspects of human embodiment, which may help account for certain trans-historical and cross-cultural consistencies in descriptive practices.
Odd Are Berkaak
By tracing archaeological, poetic, artistic, literary, legal, and political factors, Odd Are Berkaak investigates and discusses a number of controversies surrounding the sound environment at the world-famous prehistoric monument Stonehenge. Berkaak pieces together an understanding of how imagination—as built on subjective impressions, on the one side, and on collectively constructed cognitive schema, on the other—links the sensory experience of tranquility and the cultural category of dignity. In his quest, Berkaak touches on a number of aspects ranging from the promotion of cultural heritage to painting and literature.
Meghan Goodchild and Stephen McAdams
The study of timbre and orchestration in music research is underdeveloped, with few theories to explain instrumental combinations and orchestral shaping. This chapter will outline connections between the orchestration practices of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and perceptual principles based on recent research in auditory scene analysis and timbre perception. Analyses of orchestration treatises and musical scores reveal an implicit understanding of auditory grouping principles by which many orchestral effects and techniques function. We will explore how concurrent grouping cues result in blended combinations of instruments, how sequential grouping into segregated melodies or stratified (foreground and background) layers is influenced by timbral similarities and dissimilarities, and how segmental grouping cues create formal boundaries and expressive gestural shaping through changes in instrumental textures. This exploration will be framed within an examination of historical and contemporary discussion of orchestral effects and techniques.
In a chapter that takes its point of departure in a prophetic citation concerning sound and music by Francis Bacon, Petter Dyndahl examines how different epistemological positions and metaphors can contribute to the imagination and understanding of musical knowledge and learning. Dyndahl’s main focus is on discourses regarding these subjects, and he considers how knowledge in music both consists of, and is expressed by and communicated via, musical imagination. In doing so, Dyndahl discusses how different kinds of metaphors and tools are central to learning in general and how the presented approaches and perspectives, in terms of music and music education, are relevant to learning communities and to educational and professional fields of music.