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Hello SOTW Community,

I'd like to share with you a project I recently finished.

Drone Tones is a collection of drones in each pitch of the chromatic scale tuned to A = 440 Hz. The collection of sounds are intended as a practice aid for woodwinds, brass , strings, vocalists, and any other musician looking to improve their inner ear and sense of pitch.

You can view the album here.

The drones in this album do not contain the fifth. Compared to drones that do contain the tonic and fifth, Drone Tones allows the musician to explore more complex intervals such as the tritone and minor sixth with less dissonance. Additionally, each drone uses high quality sampled instruments that may be easier on the ear during long practice sessions.

Before practicing with drones, I usually worked on pitch using long tones and a tuner. I found drones to be much more effective and here’s why:

  • When it comes to improving pitch, playing with a drone is much more practical than playing with a tuner since the focus is on the ear rather than the eyes. Its unlikely that you will be able to play with a tuner and have enough spare concentration to pay attention its readout while performing.
  • Playing along with drones teaches you to depend on your ears rather than your eyes.
  • With drones you can hear and use just intonation in your playing rather than equal tempered tuning.
  • The inner ear is improved with drone practice since selected intervals can be heard and internalized in isolation.
  • Each drone uses a different instrument timbre which allows the musician to practice various tone colors and blending along with intonation.

With the purchase of the album you’ll also receive Drone Tones: Guided Practice, an accompanying nineteen-page PDF ebook of background information, explanations, and exercises to improve pitch and intonation.

You can view a preview of the book here:

Your feedback is welcome and appreciated. Thanks!
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2008
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1,497 Posts
Drones are great.
I use them with my students also.
 

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Non Resident SOTW Eccentric & 2012 Forum Contribut
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3,259 Posts
I used em for years. They are a great tool IMO
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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I love playing with drones. I use the ones off of Matt's site. They are great for intonation also. I'll have students play with them and then work on finding the place where the note sounds the "most" in tune. It helps them a ton more than just playing with a tuner that is for sure.
 

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+1 for the use of drones. Apart from the drones that are mentioned here, which Im sure are great, there is an album called "Cello drones for tuning and improvisation" by Musician's partner. For those of you that have access to Spotify you'll find it there.

Carl
 

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Distinguished SOTW Columnist/Official SOTW Guru
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Congratulations on your project.

I'll stick to the free drones on Matt's site. $12 is more than you'll pay for a jazz album these days. For a series of drones, you're overpriced.
 

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Forum Contributor 2015, seeker of the knowing of t
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I'd rather pay the 16 clams for Matt Ottos exercises. His drones are free.
 

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Distinguished Member, Forum Contributor 2012-2015
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Thanks for posting on this...I use the drones nearly every day. Without it my ears would be stuck in my 20's... :)

I posted the drones from my electronic tambura for free on my blog here:

http://mattotto.org/?cat=246
I these EVERY day. They're an excellent resource for practice.
 
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