Lesson 2
Short musical examples

Click on the links below and see if you agree with the descriptions.
These all come from real compositions. Honestly.


Ringing   Bright
Magical  Tinny
Watery Crystalline 
Like rain  Resonant
Tinkly  Sweet
Clear  Bird-like 
Like a stream



a flute has no reed and its sound is pure

Muted   Nasal
Blurred  Liquid Dry
Dull  Reedy
Sleazy    Mournful Mellow   Whiney  Hollow   Doleful   Whispering Breathy

Like someone snoring Fuzzy  Hazy


the sound of someone snoring...






Brassy   Dark   Gruff
Like a hunting-horn 
Warm Sonorous  Full
Beefy    Muddy  Sombre   Dense
Fatter Thick Fruity Rich

Abrasive  Buzzy  Raspy  Harsh  Hard  Shrill  Hoarse  Piercing 
Metallic   Rattly   Crunchy
Jingly   Penetrating Raucous     Hard-edged  Strident  Scraping Forced   Screechy

  • For the descriptions that do not have a corresponding musical example, record your own sound to match the word. You must try to match the sound with one of the descriptions not already illustrated musically above e.g. watery, mellow, warm and shrill.
  • Use a cassette recorder with inbuilt microphone or better still, a minidisk recorder and microphone. Then the rest of the class guesses the description.
  • Suggestions: water flowing from a tap, someone walking on gravel, whistling, dropping coins onto a metal surface, scraping fingernails on the blackboard, playing a note on an instrument, hissing, rubbing fingers on a balloon, singing..
    Save these for lesson 7.

summary of lesson 2