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Just for my personal edification, will someone explain about drones? I play EC, so am not familiar. Is there an actual button for a drone on Anglo? or is it a lever that once set you don't need to fuss with for the rest of a tune? Or is a drone omnipresent, always on and you must always play in that key?? Shelly

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This is my own personal opinion, so don't everybody start getting hostile. I think drones on a concertina are not a good idea, especially on an anglo. A drone is supposed to be a steady background sound of a note which is compatible with the key in which the music is being played. (think bagpipe) On an anglo, at least, it sounds like a series of hiccoughs, not a steady, unobtrusive background sound, unless played sparingly, and with little or no change in bellows direction. If it is played sparingly, or intermitently, I wouldn't call it a drone. Then there's the issue of balance, which is where the Enlish system also applies. Drones are usually low of the melody line in pitch, and can overwhelm the melody in volume. It may be possible for very skilled players to use a drone, throughout a tune, or set of tunes, but I have rarely heard it done effectively.

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Just for my personal edification, will someone explain about drones? I play EC, so am not familiar. Is there an actual button for a drone on Anglo? or is it a lever that once set you don't need to fuss with for the rest of a tune? Or is a drone omnipresent, always on and you must always play in that key?? Shelly

 

Shelly,

If an Anglo has a drone, and very few do, it is usually on the left side and located mirror image to where the air button is on the right side. For a C/G instrument it is usually a low C in both directions. You play it just like any other button, but you use your left thumb to hold it down as long as you care to. I agree with Frank, it's an effect that is seldom called for and is difficult to use musically, but it might have its uses from time to time.

 

Gary

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I disagree, I think the drone can be effective, but it should be used sparingly - all the way through a tune would probably be too much. I sometimes use the drone button in conjunction with other notes, to provide changing chords over a fixed root note, but I usually do this only at the beginning of the tune as part of a fairly sparse accompaniment, before developing it into a fuller chordal accompaniment without the drone.

 

The drone needn't sound like a series of hiccoughs, this can be avoided by using cross-rowing to reduce the number of bellows changes. There is inevitably a tiny break when the bellows have to change direction, but this can be used to emphasise the rhythm. It's true it can't be made to sound like a bagpipe drone, which is constant, but other drone instruments deliberately make use of changes of rythym and emphasis - hurdy-gurdy for example.

Edited by hjcjones
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Folks,

 

Here comes the linguist again!

 

The term "drone" has at least two meanings in different contexts.

 

1. In music, as Frank points out, it means a note that sounds continuously, as on a bagpipe or hurdy-gurdy.

 

2. In bisonoric free-reeders (e.g. Anglo concertina), it means a button that gives the same note on the press and the draw.

 

In the context of ECs and other unisonoric free-reeders, the term is meaningless when applied to buttons, because all buttons have the same note on press and draw anyway.

As to the drone as a continuous note, this effect is probably easier to achieve on an EC or Duet, where you have more chance of "covering up" the "hiccough" that occurs when you change bellows direction. But even a duet can't be made to sound convincingly like a set of bagpipes for a whole tune. I've tried it!

 

Cheers,

John

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This is my own personal opinion, so don't everybody start getting hostile. I think drones on a concertina are not a good idea, especially on an anglo. A drone is supposed to be a steady background sound of a note which is compatible with the key in which the music is being played. (think bagpipe) On an anglo, at least, it sounds like a series of hiccoughs, not a steady, unobtrusive background sound, unless played sparingly, and with little or no change in bellows direction. If it is played sparingly, or intermitently, I wouldn't call it a drone... Then there's the issue of balance, which is where the Enlish system also applies. Drones are usually low of the melody line in pitch, and can overwhelm the melody in volume. It may be possible for very skilled players to use a drone, throughout a tune, or set of tunes, but I have rarely heard it done effectively.

 

Frank,

 

In general I agree with your point(s) of view. However with some tunes you could play "dronish" with an Anglo and use the "series of hiccoughs" as a rhythmic support that sounds a bit hurdygurdy-like... (as Howard Jones states in his reply)

Listen to this Flamish Folktune that I recorded on a C/G Anglo concertina a few years ago. The melody (in C) is played on the C-row (right hand), whilst the "drone" (a G) is played with th left hand on the accidental row (when pulling) or on the C row (when pushing).

It is by the way a very good excercise for "decoupling" the left hand and right hand movements.

 

P.S. I just read the comment of Howard Jones after posting my original message, so I made an extra remark (between brackets and bold)...

Edited by Henk van Aalten
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Peter Bellamy fitted a swinging arm ( as on a microscope stage) that held down the C drone button on Anglo, it worked in both push and pull, the same note. I don't have a drone button and tend to agree with Frank ( who is a Scottish pipe player I believe)but do use the effect like Irish pipers do with regulators, a bit like Howard advises.usually 1,5 note chords

 

 

 

I recently went to an Indian music event and they had a drone provided by a boy with a hand organ /piano and also an electronic drone that was effective

Edited by michael sam wild
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From a musical perspective, drones are used widely in a number of cultures and on many different instruments. For example, the sympathetic strings on a sitar or hardingfele are drones. The plucked or strummed strings on an Appalachian dulcimer and 5-string banjo are drones. These sounds are directly or indirectly affected by how the strings are played. The idea that a drone must be constant and unchanging is not strictly true, and whilst it can be found in instruments such as bagpipes there are many other instruments where a more irregular drone is created.

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I guess it all depends on your definition of "drone," type of music played, and musical preferences.

 

I've always thought that the concept of drone can include a repeated or held note above a melody, e.g., the 5th or the high tonic. As has been discussed, the most common drone, viz. organ, most bagpipes, hurdy-gurdy, is the note played/held below a melody on the tonic in the mode or scale of the melody. Certainly there's a richness that comes from the drone on the 5th of the scale in Northumbrian smallpipes, other bagpipes, and 'gurdy that allows for musical complexity (and dissonance). So why not concertina? I can think of a couple of tunes that work well on anglo that use an "above the melody" drone [for want of a better term]. There's the beginning of "Flatworld," for instance.

 

As for holding down a tonic by using the thumb-operated button on the left-hand side of the anglo 'tina, I find it difficult to make it sound musical without, as several others have noted, becoming too insistent or intrusive. The effect sounds good on a some Greek dance tunes, especially those in the hijaz mode.

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drone, French bourdon, in music, a sustained tone, usually rather low in pitch, providing a sonorous foundation for a melody or melodies sounding at a higher pitch level. The term also describes an instrumental string or pipe sustaining such a tone—e.g., the drone strings of a hurdy-gurdy or the three drone pipes of some bagpipes. A drone may be continuous or intermittent, and an interval, usually the fifth, may replace the single-pitch drone.

 

Encyclopaedia Britannica

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/171795/drone

 

 

 

 

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This is my own personal opinion, so don't everybody start getting hostile. I think drones on a concertina are not a good idea, especially on an anglo. A drone is supposed to be a steady background sound of a note which is compatible with the key in which the music is being played. (think bagpipe) On an anglo, at least, it sounds like a series of hiccoughs, not a steady, unobtrusive background sound, unless played sparingly, and with little or no change in bellows direction. If it is played sparingly, or intermitently, I wouldn't call it a drone. Then there's the issue of balance, which is where the Enlish system also applies. Drones are usually low of the melody line in pitch, and can overwhelm the melody in volume. It may be possible for very skilled players to use a drone, throughout a tune, or set of tunes, but I have rarely heard it done effectively.

 

Mostly I agree with Frank. On my primary G/D I have a G drone, but rarely use it - only on a couple of dance tunes that get so boring I'm desperate for more variations. On most tunes, the bisonic character of the Anglo gives drones a very undrone-ish choppiness.

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Or just add a Moog Taurus Bass Pedal Synthesizer to your kit and drone all you want. You're not using your feet for much else anyway. Only $1995! (without amp).

 

Gary

Easy peasy (even if u have 2000 bucks to spare) -- all you need is a hurdygurdyist/e (we often have two - a lady and a gent at The George.

When they are tuning up for a melody I match their drone with pull or push on my 20 button anglo on one note or chord, or the appropriate key tremolo harmonica, or the bass button on DG or other melodeon (the latter is best coz it makes a fair amount of noise as a drone)

 

I just then play those notes along to accompany THEM and it really adds a lot of colour.

 

it is based on the one note principle ably exemplified by fiddle maestro Joe Broughton's Waddow band where a number of people (I know one of them at least) who couldnt play any tune just played one note - D. as he explains at the beginning he tried to get the band to understand note quality as a priority -- you can also play one note (he does it) at the start of your musical day and see how long you can hold it and gradually improve the quality of your bowing or bellowsing or flauting - he says that is his musical meditation to get iin the right mood for playing.

 

ps Howard is absolutely right about there being no need for a hiccough problem and the effectiveness of the drone (not the 'speaker' type who drones on and on and on and ......)

Coz so few people do it in a session you can give the overall session's sound considerable depth with no more ability than knowing how to push and pull slowly.... you certainly dont needto know the tune!

 

This demo video also brings into play Mike's current musico-religious experimentation element into it with Purgatory.....

The special guest Lead Virtuoso one-note artiste is standing on a chair in front of the window. Pete Coe is hiding at the back too....

 

The title deliberately has nothing to do with various soporific opiate substitutes

The Broughton Method-a-Done a sonorific meditation on the aural pain of Purgatory.

 

PS

someone more familiar with the classical scene will be able to point out some famous one note pieces.

A lady (of a certain age)told me last year how someone heard her playing the cello and how wonderful the sound was - whatever piece she was playing it was just two or three notes BUT it was the way she changed the tone and power and tempo of the bowing which made it sound like a very complicated piece - in fact it was a series of drone movements.

You might have seen similar in the BBC4 Mstislav Rostropovich documentary a few months back

http://duckduckgo.com/?q=Mstislav+Rostropovich+bbc

Edited by Kautilya
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Here's a (rather hurriedly recorded) example of how I use drones. Now I immediately concede that this isn't smooth at all - there are a lot of what I think Frank perhaps means by "hiccoughs", although I prefer to think of them as "pulses". I tried playing this more legato, with fewer bellows changes and a smoother drone, but felt that it took some of the life out of the music - I prefer it this way, with the pulses emphasising the rhythm. Personally, I think it works, although this is of course a matter of taste, and if you think of drones in terms of bagpipes then it certainly doesn't resemble that.

 

However a little of this goes a long way and I would use it to provide contrast to a more varied accompaniment rather than drone throughout a tune - at most,play it once through the tune.

The Buffoon.mp3

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Two of my boxes have drones, and all I do is use them as a thumb-operated bass note, just like any other bass note, but slightly trickier to reach!

 

As for a continuous "drone" then I can't imagine ever wanting that effect for the sort of music I play, but on some long single belows direction runs, any suitable note could be droned for a few beats.

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drone, French bourdon, in music, a sustained tone, usually rather low in pitch, providing a sonorous foundation for a melody or melodies sounding at a higher pitch level. The term also describes an instrumental string or pipe sustaining such a tone—e.g., the drone strings of a hurdy-gurdy or the three drone pipes of some bagpipes. A drone may be continuous or intermittent, and an interval, usually the fifth, may replace the single-pitch drone.

 

Encyclopaedia Britannica

http://www.britannic...ic/171795/drone

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks Howard, Maybe the origin of the word used verse in The Jolly Grinder of the Don, 'And still the burden of his song'etc.... The main theme

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Mike, "burden" has several meanings, it can mean a theme, a recurring idea (and perhaps from this, the chorus of a song) as well as meaning a drone - which might also be considered a recurring theme. It could also mean the bass accompaniment, although this use is 'archaic'

 

 

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