Timbre has a rather broad definition, and it could be the most difficult element of music to explain.  It is best defined as the character or quality of a musical sound.  Each instrument has its own unique timbre.  The same pitch on one instrument or voice can sound very different from another.  An oboe has a very bright and poignant tone quality, a French horn is very warm and mellow, and an acoustic guitar can combine a rich chordal sound with rapid energy depending on the technique used.  Every musician uses instruments in a unique way.  It is time to determine which ones use them most effectively for their music.
Even if a piece of music has a lackluster melody or poor harmony, effective timbres can give the piece wonderful character and make it enjoyable.  To the average listener, it is the most obvious and recognizable trait in the music. In this day and age, timbal resources, techniques, and procedures are growing at a huge rate. However, innovation doesn’t always equate to quality; great musicians throughout history have always known how to combine instruments in the most effective way.  Effectiveness is measured subjectively, similar to the other categories, but I will do my best to make my point come across in the clearest way.  I will mostly be listening for how the instrumentation adds to or detracts from the piece, how necessary or unnecessary the instruments are, and how well the individual instruments are used to their full potential.
Even if a song is only for a solo instrument, it is still very important to analyze its sound and how well it is being used.  A solo piano can have a much higher timbral effectiveness than a bloated song with many added instruments and sonic effects.  Still, musicians with wonderful command of instrumental combinations and talent will always rank high in timbral effectiveness.
This is also the category in which lyric quality will be taken into account.  Lyric analysis cannot be its own category, since many pieces of music do not have lyrics at all.  Lyrics can play a large part in bringing out the importance of the voice, and therefore will be discussed in this category.  Lyrics are hardly ever a huge factor in my musical experience, though. Most of the time, the lyrics do their job successfully and also become infused into the music around it, and therefore aren’t distinctive enough in swaying my perception of the music in any way. Only at the extremes, with either incredibly amazing lyrics or absolutely awful lyrics, do they significantly affect the overall quality for me.
This category is scored out of 50 points.