Part 4: Understanding Quality in bird song

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Part 4 of my introduction to learning bird songs is now up (click here).

In the narrowest sense, the quality of a bird’s voice would refer strictly to the tonal quality of the sound. Musicians call this “timbre”, and it allows us to distinguish a trumpet from a violin from a flute, even when all are playing the same note, and even though we cannot describe the differences in words. There are such differences in bird’s voices, but when birders refer to the “quality” of a bird song, we are almost always using it in a broader sense to mean our overall impression of the song (including the timbre of the voice along with everything else)….
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Black-capped Chickadee

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