Created By: pblegion on June 20, 2010 Last Edited By: pblegion on June 21, 2010

Drone Of Dread

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In music, a drone is a sustained, continuous sound, note or tone-cluster. Music based around drones will emphatize minimalism and texture, timbre, eventually harmony, with less concern over rythm and melody.

Because the atmosphere created by this kind of music tends to be extremely creepy and unsettling, it is a close cousin of the Psycho Strings, and the two often overlaps, but are just as often very distinct: the original psycho strings, for instance, are not drony at all, and many drones do not use strings, rather relying on low played brass instruments, or weird apparatuses and machines to produce their sounds.

Frequently used in Horror stories (particularly Psychological Horror ones), but can show up in other genres as well (generally as a way to highligh that, whatever the appearances are, something very wrong/unusual is going on under the fragile surface of reality).

Not to be confused with the similarly named part of a bagpipe (which however does produce a droning sound), an Attack Drone, or a male honey bee (even though the musical element, the instrument part and the robot are all named after the animal, which in turn is named after the onomatopoeia for the sound it makes)


Anime and Manga
  • Mononoke: when the Kabuki Sounds are replaced by low droning brass instruments, you know something creepy is about to happen.

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey: whenever the Monolith is involved, drony contemporary classical music composed by György Ligeti (see bellow) is heard.
  • Alien
  • Antichrist: with the exception of Händel's "Lascia ch'io pianga", used in the prologue and conclusion, the soundtrack consists entirely of drones.
  • The Shining
  • The use of a crescendo-going ominous drone in the very first seconds of There Will Be Blood quickly established the strange nature of the movie.

  • György Ligeti's compositions spanned a large aray of different styles, but some of them featured really prominent drones, notably the pieces Requiem and Atmospheres (both heard in 2001: A Space Odyssey): the former combines drones with Ominous Latin Chanting, and the later features the largest cluster chord ever written, with every note in the chromatic scale over a range of five octaves being played at once — that's sixty different notes.
  • L'Étoile du Matin Noir, an EP of dark ambient and noise music featuring many drones, released for free under Creative Commons.

Video Games

Western Animation
Community Feedback Replies: 3
  • June 18, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    this trope is part of the appeal of The Hypnotoad from Futurama
  • June 21, 2010
    If noone has objection I'm going to launch this?
  • June 21, 2010
    I am not sure I am a no-one yet, but sure why not? you have plenty of examples and the description is clear enough. The title is a bit iffy but it makes sense because that is what a continuous note is called. For added clarity you may want to mention that the title itself is kind of The X Of Y and not something like Demonic Spiders, That one mook, etc.