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Thursday, 30/11 and Friday, 1/12 at the auditorium of the conservatory of Brest Métropole (29).

7th Modal Music Symposium : Musiques à bourdon(s)

Open access upon registration

To register, click here —> Registration form

What is meant by the term "music with drones" ? In its most basic definition, "drones" refer to the production of a continuous sound on one or more pitches. It also refers to instruments whose construction relies heavily on this principle (bagpipes, hurdy-gurdies, string drums, etc.). They are found in many musical forms, from the oldest to more contemporary experiments. The quantitative and emotional significance of these forms thus deserves attention.

Although not covering a homogeneous set of sound productions, the term "music with drones" has the advantage, at least methodologically, of questioning the multiple variations of this recurring musical principle in the field of modal music on a global scale. Despite its apparent stability and deceptive simplicity, the drone remains difficult to fully grasp. It is continuous yet always changing. It defines the musical space-time as much as it erases it. It acts both as a sound base and a melodic repellent. It is most of the time clearly played, but can also be implied. It lies at the heart of the thinking of modal and folk music of oral tradition without reflecting a univocal musical reality. How then to define the drone ? In what way can this principle establish itself as a fundamental element in many musical forms ? Finally, how to explain the ancient and regularly renewed interest in droning musical forms ?

The symposium of the modal pole organized by Drom will therefore be an opportunity for a collective and multifaceted reflection, both historical, organological, musicological, and philosophical, on what "music with drones" represents today.


09:30 Welcome

10:00 Opening speech introduction : Florent Wattelier ethnomusicologist (Center for Ethnomusicology Research, Paris Nanterre University)

10:30 – 12:30 : ROUNDTABLE
Drones and continuous sound : manipulating space and time

In ancient music as in contemporary experiments, music with drones seems to maintain a complex and evolving relationship with time and space. As drones are generally associated with the principle of continuous sound, their effect on the decomposition and perception of time is undeniable. What about their relationship with space ? What is hidden behind René Zosso’s expression of the drone as "a space to inhabit" ? In the musical experiments conducted by musicians from the field of oral transmission of Western European folk music, drone and continuous sound techniques are two driving elements : what does this tell us about their intentions to manipulate spatial and temporal references ?

Speakers :
Catherine Guesde, philosopher
Alexis Degrenier, musician, researcher, percussionist, hurdy-gurdy, drone boxes
Moderator : Loïc Ponceau, ethnomusicologist

14:00 – 16:00  : ROUNDTABLE
Organological variations : transformations of instruments with drones

In the field of Western European oral transmission folk music, the drone is a recurrent element. However, historical analysis shows that it has not always had the same place. If at one time, the drone had a "bad reputation" and tended to remain silent due to the negative connotations it conveyed, today it seems to enjoy reconsideration. From an organological point of view, how have drones on instruments evolved ? What do these organological variations tell us about the place of the drone in these musical repertoires ?

Speakers :
Jean Blanchard, musician (Central France bagpipes)
Joël Traunecker, luthier, hurdy-gurdy maker
Moderator : Evelyne Girardon, musician (singing and hurdy-gurdy)

16:30 – 17:00 : Musical interlude
Drones and "sound bubble," an illustration through piobaireachd play, by Gwenael Dage


09:30 Welcome

10:00 – 12:00  : ROUNDTABLE

The drone as a gateway to modality

Modality refers to a structuring musical principle at the heart of many musical repertoires, from ancient Western ecclesiastical music to classical and folk music from around the world. Often, drones are found as a foundation. How is the drone conceived in these various musical forms ? What link, if any, does it have with modal scales ? What place does the drone occupy in maqam and related musical systems ?

Speakers :
Jeanne Miramon Prasanna, ethnomusicologist,
Romain Baudoin, musician (hurdy-gurdy),
Rusan Filiztek, musician (saz, oud)
Moderator : Florent Wattelier

Marthe Tourret & Elisa Trebouville from the duo Bourrasque of the La Crue collective

CONCLUSION 12:00 – 12:30
François Picard, ethnomusicologist (IReMus Laboratory)


The experience of the drone by Romain Baudoin

Pedagogical program

Visual creation : Erwan Le Moigne

Association Drom

24 rue de Gasté
29200 Brest
09 65 16 71 21

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Remerciement photos : Eric Legret