What is drone?

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Re: What is drone?

Post by luketeaford » Fri Jan 15, 2021 9:25 am

KSS wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 5:59 am
Having just come from the earliest memory of musical fascination thread, my reply here is colored by the natural sounds evoked for me by that thread.

All of these are drone to me.
Cicadas.
Treefrogs <--if and when there are enough of them. Compared to bullfrogs which do not meet drone level, but that may only have to do with my experience of never having heard enough of them to reach the drone I've heard from treefrogs. Likewise enough crickets move into drone from what fewer of them sound like.
The sound of the water passing by the hull of a boat or small ship. Including a competition shell. wide range of drone among these. Add power and it becomes an added element of drone.
A washing machine spin cycle. Or a clothes dryer.
The sound of a railcar, and the modern -smoother- drone of an electric bus or subway.
My grandfather's harmonica. At times.
The sound of my -then- mate's violin. And the similar drone of a cello.
An orchestra tuning up.
A re-winding audio reel, casette, or video tape.
Wind in the sails.
Wind of a storm, or desert or seashore. <--Or 70's concert opener ;)
Rain when it grows beyond drops to 'sheets'
Wind in the needles of a large conifer -and the others nearby in a forest- when sitting up high among its branches. Acompanied by the nearly impoerceptible doppler from the physical sway of the three.
The flutter of a flag.
Or the end of an LP record when it doesn't auto-shutoff. shhhhhhh-clik-shhhhhhhh-clik..
An unanswered wall phone.
And more obviously sirens of various types

and many more, but this is enough to show that for me it's not necessarily long, and can involve repetition within a greater or lesser lack of repetition. Like the treefrogs, or cicadas. And not necessarily big either. But at least one aspect or element is generally perceived as without* time constraint

*These nearly? all have a finite existence. But within their existence, some aspect or element encompasses the entire existence. It may vary over that existence, and may repeat in easily or difficult to discern manner. But -for me- there is a 'constant' to any drone on some level

Man does not need to be involved in the making of drone, only needed for experiencing it in many cases.
Good examples-- I would add that sometimes a bunch of computers in a quiet office can sound a bit like a swarmy drone.

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Re: What is drone?

Post by studio460 » Sat Jan 16, 2021 1:59 am

scuto wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 12:15 am
I'm a fan of these two qualifications. "Free time" and non-melodic (I know, not exactly what you wrote!) make sense to me. I like how tonal drones can be, while still not prescribing specific melodies for the listener. In fact, an ideal for me would be tonalities which hint or gesture at melody, but depending on where in the spectrum the listener focuses has an effect on what melodic-like things they hear.
Cool! I'm not alone! Yes, I have similar thoughts also.
KSS wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 5:59 am
All of these are drone to me . . .
A washing machine spin cycle. Or a clothes dryer.
The sound of a railcar, and the modern -smoother- drone of an electric bus or subway.
An orchestra tuning up.
Yes, KSS! Those are some of my favorites! As a model railroader, I love real train-sounds, all of 'em (e.g., the crossing-gate bell is so creepy!). My three favorite sounds in the world:

• Wind in palm trees.
• Ocean waves.
• The sound of birds, insects, etc. in Hawaii.
luketeaford wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 9:25 am
I would add that sometimes a bunch of computers in a quiet office can sound a bit like a swarmy drone.
Sure! The quiet-hum of thinking machines . . .
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Re: What is drone?

Post by KSS » Sat Jan 16, 2021 5:02 am

https://muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic ... 9#p3435795

Noise into stereo FFB drone. Apt to this thread. Instructive and useful.

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Re: What is drone?

Post by notmiserlouagain » Sat Jan 16, 2021 1:38 pm

In "The Great Orchestra Of Animals" (you should read it if you haven´t) Bernie Krause describes a holy place of American Natives, where, on certain metereological occasions, the wind turns a field of winter-broken reed plants into a giant natural organ. This is understood by that tribe as an origin of music.
He also has interesting bits about cicadas, where the frequency is dependent on temperature and in the evening they all sing different because some have sun some have shadow, some higher, some lower, but the deeper the night all frequencies go towards unity...that´s a drone composition.

Great thread again, in love with a place where stuff like this gets discussed, the only one I´m aware of!
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Re: What is drone?

Post by thelowerrhythm » Wed Jan 27, 2021 1:42 pm

KL1982 wrote:
Sun Dec 27, 2020 12:39 pm
\
RE point 3/something the OP may find interesting: @thelowerrhythm a research project I worked on a number of years back involved perception of continuity/dynamics. It was the attempt to answer some questions relating to the nature of decay/perception of decay (it involved sensory deprivation i.e no stimulus aside from the intended stimulus).

In short: imagine hearing a sustained sine tone for 8 hours, with the volume automated to fade to silence after 1 hour (i.e 7-hour fade-out), with 2 hours of silence thereafter.

The question was whether a test subject would perceive the sound as becoming softer, or whether the change was such that there was no perceptual awareness of change (test subjects weren't told the tone would fade out).

The results aren't yet published, but you may find some of the experiences interesting:

A number of people believed they were still hearing/could still hear the tone long after it had stopped (i.e residual aural perception).
A number of people believed the sound was altering (both in terms of timbre and pitch) when it was static.
One person, realising they could no longer hear a tone, rather than thinking the tone had faded, believed they had developed literal deafness to pitch, and began panicking/shouting/asking to leave (they thought that part of their 'brain had broken').
Incredibly interesting. I've experienced similar lingering effects, and have witnessed them in others, after long performances. I have a drone piece I do called Neptune that's 4h17m (~light speed from earth to neptune) with minor changes as we cross the orbits of notable bodies. Those who have stuck it out continue to hear the piece long after I've shut it off, or sometimes they hear "other" (tones, etc.) things in its absence.
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Re: What is drone?

Post by thelowerrhythm » Wed Jan 27, 2021 1:48 pm

notmiserlouagain wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 1:38 pm
In "The Great Orchestra Of Animals" (you should read it if you haven´t) Bernie Krause describes a holy place of American Natives, where, on certain metereological occasions, the wind turns a field of winter-broken reed plants into a giant natural organ. This is understood by that tribe as an origin of music.
He also has interesting bits about cicadas, where the frequency is dependent on temperature and in the evening they all sing different because some have sun some have shadow, some higher, some lower, but the deeper the night all frequencies go towards unity...that´s a drone composition.

Great thread again, in love with a place where stuff like this gets discussed, the only one I´m aware of!
:bananallama:
The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World's Wild Places yes? This looks amazeballs. Gonna buy it right now. Thank you. Dude and I feel the same way. I've been pouring over this thread time and again, rethinking my positions on drone, and feel like I haven't even gotten to a point yet where I can come back and offer up some decent responses to what are fantastic posts (whether I agree with them or not lol).
"Ah yeah, you’ve got that strange blend of apathy and self-flagellation that somehow gets you where you want to go."

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Re: What is drone?

Post by moremagic » Wed Feb 17, 2021 7:03 pm

notmiserlouagain wrote:
Sat Jan 16, 2021 1:38 pm
He also has interesting bits about cicadas, where the frequency is dependent on temperature and in the evening they all sing different because some have sun some have shadow, some higher, some lower, but the deeper the night all frequencies go towards unity...that´s a drone composition.
who need vactrols when we could have cicadatrols!

reminds me how i always feel its good luck to find a cricket on my instruments , theyre the happiest bugs to find inside at least 😅

for me , drone has an exceptionally powerful sense of place , compared to most other genres of music

it doesnt have to conjur ⬆️ a natural landscape , its taken me ⬇️ the highway, on a jet plane , back to the mill … its more transportational than transformative but larfe parts of both – a regular note becoming an entire composition is like getting to the top of the mountain and another step opens an entire amazing vista

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Re: What is drone?

Post by scuto » Thu Feb 18, 2021 9:05 pm

moremagic wrote:
Wed Feb 17, 2021 7:03 pm
... drone has an exceptionally powerful sense of place...
... its more transportational than transformative ...
This really resonated with me--I hadn't had the words for these kinds of feelings before reading this. Thank you!

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Re: What is drone?

Post by Dimilison » Mon Feb 22, 2021 4:20 am

Grumble wrote:
Sat Dec 26, 2020 12:14 pm


This is a drone
This is the best answer I've seen. Thank you, the mood has increased)

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Re: What is drone?

Post by megarat » Sun Feb 28, 2021 7:52 pm

What a fun topic. I'm late to the party, and this has been a really interesting thread.

Perhaps I overlooked it, but in a discussion on semantics and trying to establish linguistic or conceptual definitions (either strict or fluid), it seems important to reference any official definition that might exist as a foundation, to define the boundaries of the conversation, but I haven't seen any mention of this yet. So I'll bring up the official (or at least Wikipedia) definition of "drone", from the perspective of music theory. Specifically, a note doesn't have to be sustained (or, from the perspective of notation, multiple notes tied together) in order to be a drone. Repeated notes are fine, but they should have the same pitch (though I suspect that this could be debated). And this "drone" is a musical effect which is often employed in compositions that most of us here wouldn't qualify as "drone music" (e.g., the Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows").

This jumped out at me because -- in my other musical life, where I play the electric bass -- the term "drone" is frequently applied (especially in jazz) to the repetitive play of a single note for a sustained duration (e.g., every quarter note for two bars), usually to build tension during a bridge or other transition. The note of this drone is typically a fifth below the root (but above the root is okay). If a bassist in a jazz band abandons his/her walking bass line and plays a repeated fifth for four measures just before launching back into the walking bass line for the final verse, then that bassist is playing a drone.

Not surprisingly, Wikipedia also has an entry for "drone music", which seems more in line with what is being discussed here: how to classify a musical piece as "drone music", as opposed to the identification of a musical effect in a song as "a drone".

So, are we talking about drones of any (musical) type here, or just "drone music"?

Lastly, one might argue that this begs the question of whether Muse's album "Drones" qualifies as "drone music" on a technicality, but I digress ...

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Re: What is drone?

Post by Nelson Baboon » Sun Feb 28, 2021 7:58 pm

dictionaries report on actual usage, so i don't view them as the foundation, but the result. There are different uses and contexts of 'drone', and i think that the foundation is its usage in electronic music, which is what the conversation is about.
megarat wrote:
Sun Feb 28, 2021 7:52 pm
What a fun topic. I'm late to the party, and this has been a really interesting thread.

Perhaps I overlooked it, but in a discussion on semantics and trying to establish linguistic or conceptual definitions (either strict or fluid), it seems important to reference any official definition that might exist as a foundation, to define the boundaries of the conversation, but I haven't seen any mention of this yet. So I'll bring up the official (or at least Wikipedia) definition of "drone", from the perspective of music theory. Specifically, a note doesn't have to be sustained (or, from the perspective of notation, multiple notes tied together) in order to be a drone. Repeated notes are fine, but they should have the same pitch (though I suspect that this could be debated). And this "drone" is a musical effect which is often employed in compositions that most of us here wouldn't qualify as "drone music" (e.g., the Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows").

This jumped out at me because -- in my other musical life, where I play the electric bass -- the term "drone" is frequently applied (especially in jazz) to the repetitive play of a single note for a sustained duration (e.g., every quarter note for two bars), usually to build tension during a bridge or other transition. The note of this drone is typically a fifth below the root (but above the root is okay). If a bassist in a jazz band abandons his/her walking bass line and plays a repeated fifth for four measures just before launching back into the walking bass line for the final verse, then that bassist is playing a drone.

Not surprisingly, Wikipedia also has an entry for "drone music", which seems more in line with what is being discussed here: how to classify a musical piece as "drone music", as opposed to the identification of a musical effect in a song as "a drone".

So, are we talking about drones of any (musical) type here, or just "drone music"?

Lastly, one might argue that this begs the question of whether Muse's album "Drones" qualifies as "drone music" on a technicality, but I digress ...

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Re: What is drone?

Post by 3hands » Sun Feb 28, 2021 8:03 pm

My fan at night. It’s an incredible drone, that puts me to sleep within 10 mins.
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Re: What is drone?

Post by KSS » Sun Feb 28, 2021 8:25 pm

3hands wrote:
Sun Feb 28, 2021 8:03 pm
My fan at night. It’s an incredible drone, that puts me to sleep within 10 mins.
Add a second fan for audio Moire.. It's incredible.

It's also a lyrics creation 'magic box'

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Re: What is drone?

Post by 3hands » Sun Feb 28, 2021 8:44 pm

KSS wrote:
Sun Feb 28, 2021 8:25 pm
3hands wrote:
Sun Feb 28, 2021 8:03 pm
My fan at night. It’s an incredible drone, that puts me to sleep within 10 mins.
Add a second fan for audio Moire.. It's incredible.

It's also a lyrics creation 'magic box'
....

I may need to do this. I fear I would be too busy staying up recording than sleeping though!
Gum is fun, but not on a cat.

My minds an art gallery.

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Re: What is drone?

Post by strettara » Wed Mar 03, 2021 2:13 am

I would never go to a dictionary for such a complex topic, but that's just me. I think the best approach is to to look at current and past practice and draw your conclusions from that. This stuff (like what is music, etc.) is a matter of accepted - and widely variable - practice and imo it's counterproductive to look for a core or defining quality because practice will always eventually stray outside of whatever bounds you set. And dictionary compilers are aware of that. At best their definitions lag behind current practice, continually playing catch up, and I suppose they can be useful guides. But in any case the whole project of trying to define music, or drone, or noise or whatever is as mistaken as that of trying to define what even such simple artefacts as a table or a chair are, let alone huge complex cultural phenomena like musical genres.

Btw I think most (non electronic) musicians would consider drone to be something like the sound produced by the drones of a bagpipe or hurdygurdy - a continuous tone that underpins a melody. Which just goes to show how little they know :lol:

That's just my opinion of course, so caveat emptor.
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Re: What is drone?

Post by dubonaire » Wed Mar 03, 2021 3:29 am

strettara wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 2:13 am
I would never go to a dictionary for such a complex topic, but that's just me. I think the best approach is to to look at current and past practice and draw your conclusions from that. This stuff (like what is music, etc.) is a matter of accepted - and widely variable - practice and imo it's counterproductive to look for a core or defining quality because practice will always eventually stray outside of whatever bounds you set. And dictionary compilers are aware of that. At best their definitions lag behind current practice, continually playing catch up, and I suppose they can be useful guides. But in any case the whole project of trying to define music, or drone, or noise or whatever is as mistaken as that of trying to define what even such simple artefacts as a table or a chair are, let alone huge complex cultural phenomena like musical genres.

Btw I think most (non electronic) musicians would consider drone to be something like the sound produced by the drones of a bagpipe or hurdygurdy - a continuous tone that underpins a melody. Which just goes to show how little they know :lol:

That's just my opinion of course, so caveat emptor.
Yeah I tend to agree it's a bit of a pointless question.

I find it funny that small hand operated drones emit a high pitched whine.

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Re: What is drone?

Post by notmiserlouagain » Wed Mar 03, 2021 8:32 am

dubonaire wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 3:29 am
Yeah I tend to agree it's a bit of a pointless question.
Well, *everything* becomes pointless in the long run, right? :russian:
I understand such threads as fumbling for inspiration/ideas/knowledge, and this one works well for me! :mrgreen:
Still thinking about what makes some drone music so appealing---
dubonaire wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 3:29 am
I find it funny that small hand operated drones emit a high pitched whine.
Had the same thought, lol
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Re: What is drone?

Post by EATyourGUITAR » Wed Mar 03, 2021 9:00 am

I think of drone as being a very big category. I would put power electronics inside of drone. I would put some ambient music inside of drone. I can't say that drone always has no steady pattern or rhythm. drone probably does not have a traditional drum track clean up front in the mix. drone probably does not have instruments presented without reverb or convolution. a didgeridoo for example performs convolution of the fart sound the musician makes with the lips. technically a trumpet does the same. but we have similarities between a reverb room and a didgeridoo. a trumpet drowning in reverb would be like a trumpet inside a didgeridoo.

my goal when producing drone is to explore texture of continuous sounds. there is no goal of making music using traditional instruments, traditional percussion, and traditional time signature. the goal for me has always been to exploit the subconscious visceral connection to the breath and the heartbeat. some of the music I make is designed to sound like a day in the life of a person living inside the womb. everything is blurry, everything is low pass filtered. everything is recognizable in different aspects than what we think of after birth. the tracks I make with high frequencies are like caricatures of conflict or surprise. the constant movement between conflict and peace is what drives the change in heartbeat and brain waves in the listener. the perfection in my craft of making drone music is knowing how to go to these places and knowing how long to stay there and knowing how to get back. everything is intentionally disorienting in the sense that I am not making traditional music. however, I think that my music is immediately connecting with people on some deep level when they tell me to turn it off. that proves that they were able to hear conflict and move to safety. or conversely, it proves that they were able to hear the boring sleepy mundane sounds of breath and heartbeat when they were actually craving high energy constant lyrical vocal stimulation that they get from modern music.
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Re: What is drone?

Post by strettara » Wed Mar 03, 2021 11:47 am

notmiserlouagain wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 8:32 am
dubonaire wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 3:29 am
Yeah I tend to agree it's a bit of a pointless question.
Well, *everything* becomes pointless in the long run, right? :russian:
I understand such threads as fumbling for inspiration/ideas/knowledge, and this one works well for me! :mrgreen:
Still thinking about what makes some drone music so appealing---
Oh I don't think talking about it is pointless, I just object to the attempt to define it, to pin it down to one set of attributes. Talking about it is totally worthwhile.
“It must be abstract. It must change. It must give pleasure."

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Re: What is drone?

Post by notmiserlouagain » Wed Mar 03, 2021 12:39 pm

strettara wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 11:47 am
..., I just object to the attempt to define it, to pin it down to one set of attributes.
Rereading, that is totally obvious :hihi:
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Re: What is drone?

Post by tIB » Wed Mar 03, 2021 12:52 pm

Bad central heating and the worst of my teaching.

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Re: What is drone?

Post by dubonaire » Wed Mar 03, 2021 8:00 pm

strettara wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 11:47 am
notmiserlouagain wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 8:32 am
dubonaire wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 3:29 am
Yeah I tend to agree it's a bit of a pointless question.
Well, *everything* becomes pointless in the long run, right? :russian:
I understand such threads as fumbling for inspiration/ideas/knowledge, and this one works well for me! :mrgreen:
Still thinking about what makes some drone music so appealing---
Oh I don't think talking about it is pointless, I just object to the attempt to define it, to pin it down to one set of attributes. Talking about it is totally worthwhile.
I agree.

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