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Droning makes interesting music out of everyday sounds

Photo by Evan Morris

Mysterious and constant "drone" sounds came from the music department Labor Day weekend as MFA students Norman Teale and Michael Carter, along with about 30 participants, completed a 24-hour drone session in the Ensemble Room.

According to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, a "drone" is a continuous harmonic effect or accompaniment in which a note or chord is sustained or repeated to make a tonality throughout.

Teale explained that the event was, in part, created so that people could experience a sound they never realized was there all along. Whether it be a dorm room refrigerator or the traffic passing on Highway 580, the drone sound is most noticeable after such an event.

Alee Karim shared his thoughts on the drone session. "It's great that when you're doing it [droning] you don't have to be in the room. All the different instruments are feeding off each other and it changes the tone so all of a sudden it can get pretty dramatic," said Karim, who has an MFA in improvised performances.

Many MFA students had never participated in such an event before.

"It's good that Mills allows its students to do something like this. If students want to do a new project like this one, they can go ahead and do it. It's great," said second year MFA student Aram Shelton of his first drone experience.

Of the approximate 30 people who came to participate or just listen, instruments ranged from computers to saxophones, violins, a cello, guitars and a singing bowl.

Future plans for the drone enthusiasts include making the drone international using the Internet to set up a live feed to people in other countries as soon as next semester.