Timbre is one of the most elusive elements of tone:  you cannot write it down, it has to be heard.  It is the difference between the sound of the oboe and that of the clarinet.  
So much of the music industry is concerned with destroying evidence of timbre, or at least disguising it, that synthesizers readily take the place of actual instruments and players.  It gets hard to tell the difference.
But there is a difference.
Pay attention.
 


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