ABONECRONEDRONE

   


Sheila:

Yes it is, but what I've done is scramble the syllables of it, so I think someone who speaks Sanskrit would find it very difficult to understand but, I've almost sort of scratched them and repeated certain syllables, but yes they are words.

John:

OK. That's "ABoneCroneDrone III" which is said over actually a number of drones. This is not a case where, you know, you just lay down a single solitary drone for six or seven minutes and then worked with that. It seems like, each of these pieces has multiple layers.

Sheila:

Mmm! Oh yes!

John:

But each drone, are they generally in unison or I mean, you mention this one has fifths? So, for example a C and a G or whatever, are there ways to sort of subvert the effective drone, to have a drone that's strongly just says C and then sing in the key of D or A# or something like that?

Sheila:

In the vedas, apparently this is laid out that if one sings in a certain key and then changes the drone note, the emotional effect is predicted so that it says that if you sing third above the key that the melody is set in that you will get ... I can't remember, I think you get a very dreamy quality. And it goes through the whole scale and gives you those. But that's not really what I've been playing with here because that would point away from the drone and this way I'm pointing towards the drone.

John:

Or into the drone.

Sheila:

Into the drone - yes

John:

Isn't that funny. So this is from, you know, from vedic times, several thousand years ago, central Asia. And yet in Europe in the early classical period there were all these traduces being written about how all these keys did all the exact same thing.

Sheila:

Yes. Well, I mean, are we really that different? I think this whole orchestral thing and this pop thing with chords and everything is just this maverick offshoot. Its kind of an upstart movement, isn't it? That has nothing to do with what our biology dictates, because we drone. As long as we're alive we drone. We emit frequency, from the stapes bone in the middle ear, where apparently we emit the average of all the frequencies that we are, and also the blood rushing in our ears, and I think that stapes bone thing can be heard late at night when you can't sleep and there's this awful high pitched drone which seems really, really loud? I think that's the one it is. So, drones are present so long as we're present, so long as the listener is present. So, it's almost true to say that drones are at the essence of our aliveness and, I'm not surprised that a lot of musical cultures honour that fact.