Monotimbral (from the root prefix mono meaning one, and timbre meaning a specific tone of a sound independent of its pitch) is usually used in reference to electronic synthesizers which can produce a single timbre at a given pitch when pressing one key (if the synth is monophonic) or multiple keys (if the synth is polyphonic).
This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (October 2020)
An electronic musical instrument may be multitimbral, which means it can produce two or more timbres (also called sounds or patches) at the same time. Instruments which may be multitimbral include synthesizers, samplers, and music workstations. A multitimbral instrument might be configurable in a variety of ways:
- Splitting the keyboard at a given point allows a musician to play, for example, a bass guitar sound with the left hand and a piano sound with the right hand.
- Layering timbres allows a musician to play, for example, a pipe organ sound and a string ensemble sound together.
- Combinations of keyboard splits and layers may be possible.
- An external sequencer might play an accompaniment of bass and drum sounds on the instrument (actuated through MIDI) while the musician plays a piano part on the keyboard of the same instrument.