Tone of voice
Our place in evolution has made us organisms who hear in timbre a size and shape and material make-up of the primary vibrating body (string, reed, drum head, ...) as well as the size and shape of the space in which the body is vibrating (concert hall, coffee shop, village circle, ...). i think we must acknowledge and work with this natural and organismal contribution to our perception of timbre. In a word, what Timbre says to us about matter matters.
At the same time -- if we are honest -- i think we must acknowledge a celestial and heavenly perception of timbre. There are too many reports of the music of the spheres. Too much common in our experience to deny that some timbres come from above -- asking us to be more than what we currently are -- and others lift us upward from below -- helping us to realize the difference between what we are and what we pretend to be.
These considerations are emphasized by our particular point in time when for the last 70 years or more we have enjoyed unprecedented timbral freedom. We can design timbral experiences of enormous range and complexity. Before this period timbre and physical device were so closely wedded that the only indication of timbre in a score was to note the instrument(s) in which the voice was to be spoken. There have been intrepid explorers from Theremin to Moog to the Moody Blues, from Frith to Fripp, from Guthrie to Reich. In some sense, every performing musician sets out on an exploration of timbre. And, for all i know, they have all developed an internal framework, an internal language for working with timbre. But, also, for all i know, they have only chosen to share that language in the music, itself.
The music, however, is not the score, and i think we must acknowledge that the score has a definite value for those who wish to work with music, much like the written word has a value for those who wish to work with language. What is a score that lets us talk, think and feel about timbre? How do we lift our game so that we can bring more intention in the choice of timbre?