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The Art of Crafting Musical Tension


David Lightfoot, production music coordinator at I Like Music shares his top five atmospheric beds and drones

The Art of Crafting Musical Tension

You may have been watching an episode of Frozen Planet, or some sort of crime investigation show recently, or maybe even a bit of Bake-Off and noticed an atmospheric musical tension bed underneath a scene. In actuality you probably didn’t even notice, as the music worked so synonymously with the drama on screen. Usually, these atmospheric pieces of music are commonly known as ‘Drones’ and they really do work perfectly for a whole array of TV programming. 

But why do they work so well?

Everything has its own frequency. Pythagoras created his musical scale starting with a note ‘A’ (just next to the middle C) that resonates at the frequency of 111Hz. This frequency is found in all sorts of things across nature. 111Hz is a frequency of a low male voice for example.

Paul Devereux is a professor from Cambridge and an archaeo-acoustician who researches this area of archaeology and acoustics and has visited ancient sites and temples analysing the ritual use of sound. He discovered that burial mounds in Ireland called Cairns, even though they are made of different materials, and are different sizes, all resonate at one frequency: 111 Hz.   

The hum of a dehumidifier, the buzzing of a fridge, the reason people like to sleep to the sound of a fan, or some white noise, these things seem to make people feel comfortable. It could all be to do with the frequency at which these things are resonating, and this is a similar idea with the use of the ‘drone’ in music and TV.

Drones are atmospheric and simple soundscapes that can be used effectively as a musical bed to create a certain feel to something visual and there are many great examples in production/library music.

Here are my top five Atmospheric beds / Drones for this month from the production music catalogue at I Like Music

1. Regret – Ruthless Business 3 (Strange Fruit)

2. Drone Wants to Go Home – It’s Coming Drone DS035 (Deep Syncers Music)

3. Exo Suit – Youth Tension ALIBIPLY016 (ALIBI Music)

4. Changing Tides – Staccato Evolutions NSM436 (No Sheet Music)

5. Abyss – Beautiful Spaces PN81112 (Plan 8 Music)

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I Like Music, Mon, 10 Oct 2022 13:41:15 GMT