Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Music Education

Major Professor

Jack J. Heller, Ph.D.


Perception, Acoustics, Brass, Instrumental, Listening


This study was an examination of timbre discrimination and labeling, with specific consideration of the soprano-brass timbres of cornets and trumpets. This study sought to determine whether instrumentalists differed in their ability to label and discriminate cornet and trumpet timbres, and whether these abilities were influenced by the instrumentalists' performing instrument and years of playing experience. Wind, brass and percussion players (n=100) from existing instrumental groups in the Tampa Bay area participated in the study. These groups were collegiate trumpet majors from a large public university school of music, a collegiate wind ensemble from a private university, and a brass band from an area Salvation Army church, composed primarily of adults and retirees. Participants from these intact ensembles were categorized by years of experience and instrument performance group. Participants were administered a timbre discrimination and identification test consisting of twenty-five items. Each test item consisted of three short musical excerpts played on cornets and trumpets. The participants' task was two-fold: to indicate which item was played on the "different" instrument (either cornet or trumpet), and to label the items correctly. Results of the study indicated that, in general, all participants were more successful at the discrimination task than the labeling task. Further analysis indicated that low and high brass players were better at the discrimination task than non-brass wind and percussion players. Performance experience was not a significant factor for either task. Since the instrumental performance background of the listener influenced outcomes on the discrimination task, further support was garnered for a constructionist model of auditory perception in which enculturation plays a role in development.