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►Click here to download the set of Composer Worksheets

The Briefing: Texture

Texture is the simultaneous layering of sounds. Texture can refer to rhythm, harmony, or a hybrid of both rhythm & harmony. We think of texture as being a continuum; dense to sparse, active to still, and thick to thin. Adding more instruments will add density and thickness to the texture, whereas taking instruments out will create thin and sparse texture.

The Briefing: Timbre

Timbre is the characteristic quality of a sound, without taking pitch and dynamics into account, looking at the sound’s tone colour. Many instruments have different timbres which they can produce. Timbre is also thought to be a continuum moving from light to dark, and warm to cold. Choosing an instrument’s timbre can convey the attributes of a character, emotion, place or mood.

In the Field: Texture & Timbre

Listen to the following clips of compositions where texture and timbre plays an important role.

Boléro M. 81, London Symphony Orchestra

Junior Testing Grounds: Timbre

Oscillators: switch between the characters and listen to how each one has a different timbre.

Senior Testing Grounds: Timbre

BeepBox: Rate the waveforms from darkest and lightest, or warmest to coldest.

Junior Testing Grounds: Texture

Bobby McFerrin - ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’
- Try adding more layers or take layers away to see how the texture of the song is affected.

Senior Testing Grounds: Texture

BeepBox: Create a melody then include more layers to add a thicker texture.

Industry Voice:

Listen to the following people working in the industry describe how to use texture and timbre.

How do you use texture & timbre in your compositions?


Click here to start your submission!



Career Pathway Videos

Shannon Mason
Composer & Sound Designer
Vancouver, BC


Caitlin Yu
Head of Quality Assurance
Phoenix Labs
Burnaby, BC


Adrian Talens
Freelance Composer
Vancouver, BC