A Normative Survey on Auditory Perception and Semantic Descriptors of Musical Timbres

  • Anis Haron Multimedia University
  • Wong Chee Onn Multimedia University
  • Hew Soon Hin Multimedia University
Keywords: Data science, Sound and music computing, Tone colour, Perception, Semantic descriptors


Timbre are commonly described using semantic descriptors such as ’dark’, ’bright’ and ’warm’. The use of such descriptors are useful and largely practiced by trained individuals in music related industries. Such descriptors are subjective as it could be interpreted differently by different individuals determined by factors such as training and exposure. Semantic descriptors also lacks granularity, in a sense that the descriptor does not indicate the amount or intensity of the description. A numerical representation for timbral description addressees these issues. Computational approach for numerical measure of timbre are at present under study by music technology researchers. Such studies requires a benchmarking process in order for viability tests. To provide a set of data that can be used for benchmarking, a survey on auditory perception and semantic descriptors of musical timbres were conducted. The conducted survey looks to find out if a general consensus can be observed for semantic description of musical timbres using a normative survey methodology. This article reviews the conducted survey, presenting the survey’s approach, results and findings


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How to Cite
Anis Haron, Wong Chee Onn, & Hew Soon Hin. (2021). A Normative Survey on Auditory Perception and Semantic Descriptors of Musical Timbres. Journal of IT in Asia, 9(1), 121-132. https://doi.org/10.33736/jita.3368.2021