Drone (musique)

Origines stylistiques Musique expérimentale, musique minimaliste[1], post-rock, rock expérimental des années 1960[2]
Instruments typiques Instruments électroniques, guitares, cordes, équipements électroniques de post-production
Popularité Faible, principalement dans les milieux liés à l'ambient, au heavy metal et à l'électronique

Genres associés

Drone metal, doom metal, musique minimaliste

Le drone, drone ambient[3], ambient drone[4],[5], ou musique drone[6],[7], est un genre musical minimaliste[1] faisant essentiellement usage de bourdons (drones en anglais), utilisant des sons, notes et clusters maintenus ou répétés. Il est typiquement caractérisé par de longues plages musicales présentant peu de variations harmoniques.


De la musique rythmée ou très lente contenant des bourdons, appelée « musique drone »[8],[6], peut être trouvée à de nombreux endroits dans le monde, comme dans la musique jouée avec des cornemuses écossaises ; la musique australienne jouée au didgeridoo, et la musique carnatique et hindoustanie[9], notamment. La répétition des tons, imitant supposément la cornemuse[10],[11],[12],[13] est utilisée dans une variété de formes et genres musicaux.

Le genre moderne également appelé drone[7],[14] (appelée « dronology » par certains ouvrages, labels et disquaires[15]) est souvent attribué aux artistes proches de la musique underground et du post-rock ou de la musique expérimentale[2]. Le drone caractérise également les genres minimalistes[1], dark ambient, drone doom/drone metal, et bruitistes.



  • Levaux, Christophe, "Démesures. Une histoire du drone des 1960 à nos jours", Interval(le)s No 7 (2015): Réinventer le rythme / Den Rhythmus neu denken.
  • De la musique répétitive au drone (1er mai 2003) par Toma Burvenich - Définition, histoire, liens[20]
  • (en) A History of Drone Music (février 2005) - définition, histoire, liens, etc.

Notes et référencesModifier

  1. a b et c (en) Cox & Warner 2004, p. 301 (in Thankless Attempts at a Definition of Minimalism de Kyle Gann) : Certainly many of the most famous minimalist pieces relied on a motoric 8th-note beat, although there were also several composers like Young and Niblock interested in drones with no beat at all. [...] Perhaps steady-beat-minimalism is a criterion that could divide the minimalist repertoire into two mutually exclusive bodies of music, pulse-based music versus drone-based music.
  2. a et b (en) Cox & Warner 2004, p. 359 (Post-Rock de Simon Reynolds) : The Velvets melded folkadelic songcraft with a wall-of-noise aesthetic that was half Phil Spector, half La Monte Young—and thereby invented dronology, a term that loosely describes 50 per cent of today's post-rock activity. (about the Velvet Underground and post-rock).
  3. (en) « Soundtrack for the Aquarium », sur AllMusic (consulté le 25 mai 2015), Representative of the drone ambient side of his work.
  4. (en) Ambient drone est utilisé sur AllMusic dans des biographies comme celle de Stars of the Lid (Ambient drone duo Stars of the Lid) ou de Mathias Grassow (widely recognized as 'the King of the Ambient Drone)
  5. (en) « Stars of the Lid and their refinement of the decline », sur PopMatters (consulté le 25 mai 2015), experimental no-man’s-lands like ambient drone.
  6. a et b (en) For information on early and other uses of drones in music around the world, see for example (American Musicological Society, JAMS (Journal of the American Musicological Society), 1959, p. 255 : Remarks such as those on drone effects produced by double pipes with an unequal number of holes provoke thoughts about the mystery of drone music in antiquity and about primitive polyphony.) ou (Barry S. Brook & al., Perspectives in Musicology, W. W. Norton, 1972, (ISBN 0-393-02142-4), page 85 : My third example of the force of tradition concerns another large problem, the persistence of drone music from the Middle Ages to the present day.).
  7. a et b (en) Early use of "drone music" as a non-ethnic, new or experimental genre can be found such as in 1974 (Michael Nyman, Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond, Studio Vista, 1974, (ISBN 0-02-871200-5), p. 20: [...] LaMonte Young's drone music [...]) or again 1974 (cf. drone-music in the Hitchcock 1974 quote about Riley)
  8. The mystery of drone music in antiquity', Journal of the American Musicological Society 1958, p. 255
  9. (en) A precedent directly cited by La Monte Young, see his quote below (Zuckerman, 2002).
  10. (en) Rosamond E. M. Harding, Origins of Musical Time and Expression, Oxford University Press, 1938, Part 2, Studies in the imitation of musical instruments by other instruments and by voices, page 42-43 : IMITATION OF BAGPIPES: Bagpipes may be called a world-instrument, since they are found in most parts of the world. They are also of considerable antiquity, being known to the ancient Egyptians. [...] There are three characteristics of Bagpipe imitations all three of which may be present at the same time and any one of which is sufficient to characterize Bagpipe influence, if not a direct imitation. The first is the drone, usually placed in the bass, and consisting of one note alone or of two or three notes played together. A drone consisting of two adjacent notes sounded alternately is also typical. Dr. Naylor, in his work An Elizabethan Virginal Book, has drawn attention to the fact that many early English melodies are founded on a drone consisting of two alternating notes, and that the Northumbrian Bagpipe had alternative drones and an arrangement for changing the note of the drones.
  11. George Grove, Stanley Sadie, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Macmillan Publishers, 1st ed., 1980 ( (ISBN 0-333-23111-2)), vol. 7 (Fuchs to Gyuzelev), André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry, p. 708 : in L'épreuve villageoise, where the various folk elements - couplet form, simplicity of style, straightforward rhythm, drone bass in imitation of bagpipes - combine to express at once ingenuous coquetry and sincerity.
  12. (en) Leroy Ostransky, Perspectives on Music, Prentice-Hall, 1963, p. 141 : GAVOTTE. A dance consisting of two lively strains in 4/4 time, usually with an upbeat of two quarter-notes. It sometimes alternates with a musette, which is a gavotte over a drone bass, an imitation of bagpipes.
  13. (en) David Wyn Jones, Music in Eighteenth-Century Austria, Cambridge University Press, 2006, (ISBN 0-521-02859-0), p. 117 : Table 5.1 - Pastoral traits in eighteenth-century masses [...] II - Harmony: A) Drones in imitation of bagpipes
  14. (en) "drone music" is also used in The Cambridge History of Twentieth-century Music (cf. Cook & Pople 2004, page 551, about the Theatre of Eternal Music : his drone music [...] Young went on to develop this early drone music into intricate and extended compositions) or on Pitchfork (During that time I wanted my drone music to have as prickly an edge as possible lien).
  15. (en) Dronology est utilisé comme un terme du genre par le disquaire Aquarius Records (qui se proclame comme le premier à avoir utilisé ce terme : voir aquariusrecords.org, epitonic.com, et last.fm).
  16. (en) Gilbert Perlein & Bruno Corà (eds) & al., Yves Klein: Long Live the Immaterial! (An anthological retrospective, catalog of an exhibition held in 2000), New York: Delano Greenidge, 2000, (ISBN 978-0-929445-08-3), page 226 : This symphony, 40 minutes in length (in fact 20 minutes followed by 20 minutes of silence) is constituted of a single 'sound' stretched out, deprived of its attack and end which creates a sensation of vertigo, whirling the sensibility outside time.
  17. (en) Zuckerman, Gabrielle (ed.), An Interview with La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela, American Public Media, juillet 2002, musicmavericks.publicradio.org.
  18. (en) Mueller, Klaus D., « Klaus Schulze: Irrlicht » [WebCite], Official Klaus Schulze Discography, , Early organ drone experiments.
  19. (en) Mueller, Klaus D., « Klaus Schulze: Cyborg » [WebCite], Official Klaus Schulze Discography, www.klaus-schulze.com, , Further organ drone experiments. Heavy stuff.
  20. « De la musique répétitive au drone »