Drone Tuning and Use

Hurdy-gurdy tunes, playing tips and advice, sheet music and books

Drone Tuning and Use

Postby Jon » Sun Sep 20, 2009 2:03 am

In this and other Forums, I asked for people's thoughts on adding capos to drone strings to simplify tuning changes between songs, or even while playing.

Many replies, like the following for example, assuming 4 drones on a G/C instrument (trompette-C, mouche-G, petit-C and gros-D bourdon):
1. G/C instrument: one capo on c' trompette (for key of C) to tune up to d' for key of G
2. G/C instrument: 4 capos to take both G drones to A, and both C drones to D
3. G/C instrument: 8 capos to take both G drones to A and on to B, and both C drones to D and on to E
4. No input from any D/G instrument folks yet.

All this capo input has me thinking how people use drones in the first instance.

I only use drones for the first and fifth of the key, e.g. playing in G, use first (G) and fifth (D) drones in various combinations. Playing in C, I use first (C) and fifth (G) drone combinations. This is traditional I guess?

So what other possibilities are being used out there. How about drones using the third - key of G, a drone in B? Key of C, a drone in E?

How about seconds (key of G, a drone in A), or sixths (key G, a drone in E), etc.

Or maybe I should brush up on my harmony theory to answer all the above?
Jon
 
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:49 pm
Location: San Francisco, California

Re: Drone Tuning and Use

Postby WaterPig Master » Sun Sep 20, 2009 11:43 am

Hi there

Well, my dream is to have the money to buy a gurdy with all those capos on! I am talking about chris allens' complicated £75 capos here - don't know how much other makers charge.

As far as drone intervals apart from 1st and 5th - I play and make the dulcimer, which is really tuned in almost exactly the same way as the gurdy - a melody string tuned A, an A drone and a D bass drone. I have experimented with changing the A drone to a 3rd, and there are 2 major problems. The first is that is sounds bad. Many notes have a problem with the 3rd of the scale and therefore sound bad if the drone is a 3rd. Secondly - it prevents playing in minor with the drone! I love minor keys and would never choose not to have the option of playing in one.

So by all means experiment - I could well be wrong and on the gurdy it sounds fab. I still have no gurdy to experiment with, and so would be interested in hearing how some of the interesting drone notes sound!

Thanks,
Barnaby
Most buskers aren't tramps... Most!
User avatar
WaterPig Master
 
Posts: 138
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 7:33 pm

Re: Drone Tuning and Use

Postby Jon » Mon Sep 21, 2009 7:09 pm

Another reply I received ex-Forum:

Player uses drones ONLY in the root of the key, e.g. G/C instrument key of G, drones in g and G; D/G instrument, drones in d and D.
Jon
 
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:49 pm
Location: San Francisco, California

Re: Drone Tuning and Use

Postby Jon » Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:19 pm

Michael Muskett was kind enough to respond to my query about drone tuning in a private email, and he has agreed to let me quote his reponse below in this Forum:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

"... it is normal on drone instruments to tune the drone (if only one) to the tonic, or keynote (C in the case of C major/minor). The 2nd drone is normally the dominant (5th note: g in key of C). This interval is a perfect 5th, and after the 8ve (ratio 1:2) is the simplest interval, having a ratio of 3:4. It is this tuning of the drones which people find so satisfying and they must be perfectly tuned to have full effect (the drones, not the people!).

Music consists of constantly changing degrees of consonance and dissonance between melody and harmony and between the complex harmonics produced by each string. Certain intervals are sweet e.g. 8ve, 3rd, 5th, 6th. Others are harsh: 2nd, 7th. Therefore, you may add a maj/min 3rd drone to the 8ves & 5ths, as is done on some musettes, but this must only sound when musically suitable. It adds warmth.

It seems perverse to have drones tuned to 2nds unless you particularly want a special effect. If you wish to experiment with different tonalities I suggest you try different modes, as given on page 82 of the Method. And don’t forget the minor keys, of which there are two types. The key in which you play must be in accordance with the drones. i.e. you should not play in A minor when the drones are c & g.

Music is a language, a language that expresses all human emotions with their contradictions and complexities. There are many forms, of which the simplest is folk music, and if you want to play with understanding you will have to learn the basics. This is readily accessible nowadays for all is available on the internet. But it is a great study and at the end of a lifetime you will not know half of it"!

Michael Muskett
Jon
 
Posts: 48
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:49 pm
Location: San Francisco, California

Re: Drone Tuning and Use

Postby halfies » Tue Sep 22, 2009 5:10 pm

We remain confused about a lot this despite all the valuable erudition (much appreciated).

What drone then, if any, is most appropriately selected on our D/G Gurdy when playing, as we often do, in E minor (which as you know can be said as relative to D major). At the moment we pull 'em all off normally, though this is the subject of much ............ er ........... discussion between us !

All the drones are normally tuned to D / d of course, except the Mouche in G.

Thanks for any further input about this.
halfies
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:28 pm

Re: Drone Tuning and Use

Postby paulsherwood6 » Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:13 pm

Hi Halfies,

The relative major of E minor is G major (both have just f# in the key signature).

Depending on who you are playing with, you could drop the tune a tone to D minor to make it fit the instrument better. I do that with a few tunes.

If you can't do that either capo-ing up or with care - especially if the string is quite heavy - tuning up the trompette and one or more drones rising them from D to E. Elsewhere (associated with the discussion on harp levers) Neil suggested that sometimes a triangular cross-section piece of wood can be made to bridge the gap between the trompette string and the soundboard and shorten the vibrating section of the string. That might be enough to enable you to join in with a group, just leave off the other drones.

Paul
User avatar
paulsherwood6
 
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 12:38 pm

Re: Drone Tuning and Use

Postby halfies » Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:25 pm

Hi Paul and thankyou.

You are quite right of course about the relative major being G, not D, ... sorry about that (huh, typical of an old Melodeon player eh).

Ok understood, and all makes better sense now, thanks. We will try a few gentle experiments with lifting tuning and/or temporary 'bridges' !

The fascination of Gurdies is endless.

'best

Halfies
halfies
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:28 pm

Re: Drone Tuning and Use

Postby halfies » Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:43 pm

Having just thought about and discussed this some more we realised that the Mouche tuned as G will be Ok but in order to enable use of the Trompette the best and safest idea seems definitely to make a little temporary triangular bridge to slide underneath (thin felt or something glued to it's foot to save scratching the soundnoard) as per your suggestion. Brilliant idea !

We thought that after a bit of preliminary experimenting, a light pencil mark to show a typical 'E' position for the bridge would permit rapid transition for Trompetting in E minor when playing in company (viz not feasible to drop tune to D minor). All D drones off of course.

'best to all and thanks

Halfies (just noticed that Zephyrus, see elswhere on here have a CD re Halfe Hannikin which is 'our thing', hence our member name, we had better buy a copy !)
halfies
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:28 pm

Re: Drone Tuning and Use

Postby Euan » Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:02 pm

I find these discussions amazing. My tuning is somewhat different. My mouche is a I have a d drone and a g drone and swop them for each key because I want a clean sound but strangely when playing in a I also have the d drone on and sometimes vice versa. But I never have the g and d drones on together. D trompette of course. I sometimes move that up to an e if I feel perverse enough while playing in a. those pegheads have helped a lot!!
My c/g has also the same mix. a c drone and a g drone and a d mouche. I could do with a capo for the trompette on this one!!
We are a strange breed of peple are we not?
Euan
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2009 10:58 am

Re: Drone Tuning and Use

Postby halfies » Thu May 20, 2010 12:44 pm

We remain confused about all this. Almost started another posting string.

On our D/G Gurdy we have Trompette and both Bourdons tuned as D, also both Chanters (octave tuned). Only the Mouche is different being tuned to G and not often used. This seems slightly puzzling but is as most books advise.

Ok, lets say we are going to play the mazurka 'Ciapa Rousa', super tune usually in E minor.

Clearly the Trompette and any Bourdons sound horrible tuned as D. However If we manually retune both the Trompette and a Bourdon to E then the sound is pretty reasonable.

This is pretty fiddly though, playing for dance etc with maybe rapid changes necessary, so if you are lucky enough to go for Capos and/or a second Trompette what is the accepted practise for setting these up ?

Why do players have second Trompettes ? Is the a second Trompette usually tuned to E or would you use a Capo (less expensively) on the existing Trompette ?

Instead of tuning both Bourdons to D which surprisingly seems the accepted way why not tune one of them to E instead ? Unfortunately our Gross Bourdon is pretty quiet and not often used so it is tempting to think instead of a capo on the Petit Bourdon for quick retune to E when required.

We know all of these things are feasible and can be tried including using pegs or wedges etc. What we are trying to find out is 'What is the Norm " in this situation if there is one ?

Sorry to Drone on ! (oops that's a well worn gag no doubt)

Thanks to anyone interested enough to comment, all advice welcome.

'best from Halfies (aka Rob and Marj')
halfies
 
Posts: 79
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:28 pm

Next

Return to Playing

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron