To Drone or not to Drone, that is my question.

To Drone or not to Drone, that is my question.

I have a question about drones. Im wanting to record some tunes on my old Tascam 4 track recorder and want to put a drone sound on one of the tracks.
Is there a rule of thumb as to what key it needs to be in? Like if the tune is in the key of D, should the drone be in D and if the tune is in G should the drone be in G?
Thanks in advance!

Re: To Drone or not to Drone, that is my question.

rules rules rules. Are you in the army or something? Why don’t you just do what sounds right to you?

Posted .

Re: To Drone or not to Drone, that is my question.

We could drone on and on about this …. 🙂

But seriously, a while ago we had a guy turn up at a session with a didge. He was very polite and civilised about it and went to some lengths to ascertain that his didge played a (very) low D in tune. And then played this infra-bass D for a set of tunes in D, and then departed. Quite effective, and rattled the glasses in the bar, I can tell you.

Trevor

Re: To Drone or not to Drone, that is my question.

No, no, no! Any other droning than Eb is performed by people of low esteem and undiscerning musical tastes!

‘Didge’, hah! I do not remember hearing that in 18th century Ireland they used ‘didges’! If you do not believe, please refer to the book “10.000 Hard Rules an Artiste Must Obey at a Session or Else”.

Sincerely disgusted,

J the Puritan

Re: To Drone or not to Drone, that is my question.

Fuzzy

Michael’s reply - though characterisically blunt and without doubt intentionally provocative - is really what it all comes down to.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Try a few and see what it sounds like. If you try a few ideas and can’t decide - ask a friend to listen in and see what they think.

Your ideas of D for D and G for G seem like a reasonable starting point.

When Wolfie Mozart was about 3 he was found at the piano or harpsichord or somesuch one day playing different combinations of notes together, and when he was asked what he was doing he replied that he was “trying to find notes that like each other”.

Happy hunting.

Dave

Re: To Drone or not to Drone, that is my question.

Re: Michael Gill’s question. Probably because he’s an English concertina player and is therefore used to people telling him that he’s doing the wrong thing, and that he should do what they tell him to 🙂

Re: To Drone or not to Drone, that is my question.

Didn’t know Michael Gill plays the concertina - isn’t he a fiddle/viola man, as per his bio?
Trevor

Re: To Drone or not to Drone, that is my question.

Ha ha ha

Posted .

Re: To Drone or not to Drone, that is my question.

Have a listen to some Uilleans - the drone is there in the background, but a lot of stabbing at the regulators goes on as well. Has to be done with care, but used sparingly can jog the tune along well.
If you must drone, 8 bars at a time is quite enough - it needs to be very subdued to do it throughout a tune.

If you want to hear some good droning, go to any singers session.

Re: To Drone or not to Drone, that is my question.

I’ve got a tape loop of sitar drones - works quite well for playing along with - and it’s a smoother sound than the Uillean pipes (strings, not wind….)

Jim

Re: To Drone or not to Drone, that is my question.

Oh, and Fuzzy, don’t forget to say “Thank you, sir” to Sergeant-Major Gill. 🙂

Jim

Re: To Drone or not to Drone, that is my question.

I’d urge caution. Add an extra d or g drone to accent a beat or pick a spot where a harmony might stand out or help emphasize a note here or there. To much experiment will sound disjointed.

Also, since you’ve mentioned the 4-track, don’t overdub the drones. Play them live and keep in mind they should support the main note, not become the main note.

Re: To Drone or not to Drone, that is my question.

Drone in the key it is in that is what I would do if the song changes keys in one or two measures change th drone with it.

Posted by .

Re: To Drone or not to Drone, that is my question.

Sgt.Gill sir, yes sir, thank you sir, I will do what sounds the best sir, with your permisison sir.
Thank you sir. And to the rest of you all. I salute you!!

Re: To Drone or not to Drone, that is my question.

When I read the above, I hope that no one is even thinking of the possibility of contemplating the idea of considering the thought of taking a rise out of our good session friend and sparring partner the Hon. Mr. Gill.

After all, whilst some have elaborated, or been more gentle about it, none have come up with a better answer than his.

Re: To Drone or not to Drone, that is my question.

Drones are not always best on the tonic of the tune; I play Brian Boru March on my GHB with an E Drone though the Tonic is B. The E Drone brings out the alternating Major/Minor strains of the tune.
Sometimes two Drones a Fourth or a Fifth apart really add to a tune.
I’ve experimented with exotic combinations like B and D on my GHB which sounds rather interesting.
The tone of the instrument you use for the Drone is important, it should have a lot of the upper partials of it’s harmonic series audible and be 1, 2 or even 3 Octaves below the tune.
My Yamaha MU90 sound module has a wonderful sample of Uillean Drones that I use a lot when doing MIDI stuff.
PP

Re: To Drone or not to Drone, that is my question.

Well there is alot of useful info listed above, thanks for all of the input. I think Master Sgt. Petty Officer Private First Class Gill has
the right idea. I’ll just have to do what sounds right to me. Thank you Sir!!

Re: To Drone or not to Drone, that is my question.

Michael Gill’s advice, sound as it is, leaves out an all-important point - namely that which sounds right to the player need not necessarily sound right to others, especially in the context of a music genre based on tradition (here we go again - the dreaded T-word!). The player needs to have good sound experience based on listening to the music of others and playing music with them before there can be confidence that what sounds “right” on a personal level is also going to sound “right” to others.

To take a somewhat extreme example, consider a “classical” musician with very little experience of ITM, and no experience of sessions either, picking up a copy of O’Neill and playing through some of the tunes therein. What he is playing may well sound “right” to him, but certainly would not sound “right” to anyone with experience of ITM.

ITM, like any other established artistic system, has its own system of “rules”, which may be difficult to catalog and define, but they are there for all that. (A system without any rules whatsoever will be amorphous with no structure and will fall apart quickly.)

If you break a “rule” you become aware that something isn’t quite right, even if you can’t immediately identify it, and this is where someone with more experience can help. If you have a lot of experience and knowledge, like the well-established bands and solo performers have, then you know, subconsciously perhaps, when a rule can be bent or safely ignored and the boundary gets extended a little.

Trevor