Drone (music)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In music, a drone is a harmonic or monophonic effect or accompaniment where a note or chord is continuously sounded throughout much or all of a piece, sustained or repeated, and most often establishing a tonality upon which the rest of the piece is built. The systematic (not occasional) use of drones originated in Ancient Southwest Asia and spread north and west to Europe, east to India, and south to Africa (van der Merwe 1989, p.11). It is used in Indian music and is played by the tanpura (or tambura) and other Indian drones like Ottu, Ektar, Dotara (or Dotar and as Dutar in Persian/Central Asia), Surpeti, Surmandal (or Swarmandal) and Shank (conch shell).

The best-known drone piece in the concert repertory is the Prelude to Wagner's Das Rheingold (1854) wherein low horns and bass instruments sustain an E flat throughout the entire movement. The atmospheric ostinato effect that opens Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, which inspired similar gestures in the opening of all the symphonies of Anton Bruckner, represents a gesture derivative of drones.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Drone (music)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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