Review of CELLO DRONES
from the American String Teachers Association Journal
Review of Cello Drones for Tuning and Improvisation by Cornelia Watkins, reprinted with permission from the August 2004 issue of American String Teacher
Sloane, a cellist and teacher, has recorded a CD of drones on all 12 tones for practicing, teaching, and improvising. Each drone is composed of three octaves and two fifths that are tuned and balanced perfectly to provide a background that is excellent for intonation work or improvisation on any instrument. The cello-rich drone sound is much more natural and satisfying than the plastic-sounding sine waves generated by most tuners and keyboards. Each track lasts six minutes, which seems to be a very appropriate length for most work I have done with it, though Sloane gives you the option of special-ordering a CD with longer timings on certain pitches. The drones are particularly useful in lessons to help students focus on tuning intervals.
Intonation problems clear up quickly against the drone, and it helps players get in touch with the intuitive side of their playing. This is a very useful practice and teaching tool!