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De l'interprète à l'auditeur: une analyse acoustique et perceptive du timbre musical

Abstract : Discovering the acoustical parameters responsible for musical expression is of fundamental interest to improve our understanding of musical perception, and finds numerous applications in sound synthesis. Musical interpretation is an act during which the performer traduces the notational signal from the composer while involving his/her own judgement. If many studies on musical interpretation deal with the role of timing, dynamics or pitch, rather few focus on the one of timbre. Nevertheless, this perceptual attribute referring to both the identity of the sound source and the sound quality, seems to be an essential musical parameter. The goal of this work, based on an analysis-synthesis approach, is to better understand the role of timbre in musical interpretation.

Dissimilarity judgments of synthetized clarinet tones obtained from a physical model, allowed to characterize the influence of the control parameters of the instrument (blowing pressure and player's lip force on the reed) on the generated timbres. Recordings of musical excerpts played a large number of times by the same professional clarinetist on a natural instrument according to different musical intentions (“scholastic" and “expressive") were then analyzed. The transmission process of musical expression was hence studied through changes in timbre, rhythm, and dynamics. Some timbre variations (sound quality variations within tones or between tones) are systematically reproduced by the performer when his/her expressive intention is the same. The nature of these variations is modified when the intention changes, which tends to prove that musicians act on certain timbre dimensions to vary their expression. Two complementary perceptual experiments revealed that the evolutions of the tones' brightness across time influence listeners' musical preferences. The musical quality of inexpressive sequences, generated on self-sustained instruments with samplers, could significantly be improved thanks to the control of brightness by dynamic filtering.

This work supports the idea that the temporal morphological variations of timbre (e.g. brightness temporal variations) are involved in musical expression.
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Contributor : Mathieu Barthet <>
Submitted on : Thursday, September 17, 2009 - 6:08:48 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 20, 2020 - 3:10:21 AM
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  • HAL Id : tel-00418296, version 1


Mathieu Barthet. De l'interprète à l'auditeur: une analyse acoustique et perceptive du timbre musical. Acoustique [physics.class-ph]. Université Aix-Marseille II, 2008. Français. ⟨tel-00418296⟩



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