2011 Student Research Conference:
24th Annual Student Research Conference

Playing in a Dialect: Comparing English and American Trombone Timbres with Their Respective Vowel Systems
Katie Cox
Dr. Jay Bulen, Faculty Mentor

This project aims first to confirm quantitatively that a reported distinction in timbre does exist between English and American trombonists, and second to correlate that distinction with relevant differences in the vowel content of each dialect. To examine this, subjects were asked to submit a recording of a standard etude; this etude contained pre-determined target notes which were measured at formant 1 and 2. From this data, an inventory of timbres was constructed for each subject group. This inventory was compared to the vowel distribution (also measured at F1 and F2) for each language. For timbre, both F1 and F2 showed a statistically significant trend to be lower among English subjects than Americans. This correlates with the tendency for low back vowels in British English to cluster in a lower position than in American English, implying that the sounds naturally occurring a players language may impact his preferred musical sound options.

Keywords: Trombone, Timbre, Vowels, Spectral Analysis, Formants, British English, American English


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 28-3
Location: OP 2117
Time: 1:45

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