Timbre is a major structuring force in music and one of the most important and ecologically relevant features of auditory events. We used sound stimuli selected on the basis of previous psychophysiological studies to investigate the neural correlates of timbre perception. Our results indicate that both the left and right hemispheres are involved in timbre processing, challenging the conventional notion that the elementary attributes of musical perception are predominantly lateralized to the right hemisphere. Significant timbre-related brain activation was found in well-defined regions of posterior Heschl's gyrus and superior temporal sulcus, extending into the circular insular sulcus. Although the extent of activation was not significantly different between left and right hemispheres, temporal lobe activations were significantly posterior in the left, compared to the right, hemisphere, suggesting a functional asymmetry in their respective contributions to timbre processing. The implications of our findings for music processing in particular and auditory processing in general are discussed.