I wouldn't exactly call this scientific, but I'll take a stab at defining your colour/timbre descriptions(at least imho):
Dark--a sound with multiple harmonics sounding simultaneously, not to be confused with:
Flat--a false *dark* sound produced by playing a note slightly flat, which removes the upper partials of the sound
Warm--a sound which incorporates the use of a gentle vibrato to add color to the sound(aka *sweet*, especially at lower dynamics)
Cool/Cold--a sound devoid of any type of vibrato(aka *straight*)
Bright--a sound which is played very much in the center of the pitch, with emphasis on the higher harmonics(aka *piercing*), occurs at any dynamic
Edge--see *bright* above, but also refers to the crisp, marcato attacks used to *punch* the sound out of the horn, occurs more at louder dynamics
Big--a *dark* and *warm* sound, which maintains its richness even at louder dynamics(as opposed to a *bright* sound, which may develop *edge* at higher dynamics)
Perhaps the most important thing to remember when addressing timbres is that they are relative in nature....
Alan Rouse wrote:
> I believe that all the shades / colors we discuss are simply different
> amplitudes of the various harmonics.
> I accept that some of this might be related, not to an instantaneous
> "snapshot" of the balance of harmonics, but the changing of this balance
> over time as you attack and sustain a note, use vibrato, etc. But let's
> start simple...
> Ok, if you accept that, then here's my question: In terms of harmonic
> amplitudes, what do we mean by
> - big
> - warm
> - dark
> - edge
> - bright
> - sweet