No drone unturned: tracing the sound that unites ancient and modern
From primitive instruments and sacred chants to today’s minimalist electronica and metal, drone music has a long and mystical history. A new book investigates.
From the womb – where the rushing of maternal blood is heard loud and clear at 88 decibels – through myriad historical, spiritual and subcultural pathways, our connection to the drone runs deep. Many ancient instruments – didgeridoo, bullroarer, carnyx – produced sustained tones, while the ancient Greeks evoked the delirium of Dionysus with the drone of the Aulos pipes. Indeed, religious practice all over the world, from the sacred Buddhist Om to haunting Gregorian chant, continues, as it has done for centuries, to centre the drone as a sonic enabler of meditative transcendence.
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