I want a drone, using only acoustic instruments, with as little effort as possible, to accompany singing.

  • 7
    I’m voting to close this question because this question is just asking for a list, making every answer essentially of equal value.
    – Aaron
    Oct 23, 2023 at 9:09
  • Also see music.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask and music.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic on the inadvisability of list questions and questions seeking recommendations.
    – phoog
    Oct 23, 2023 at 10:45
  • 1
    @phoog is there a stack exchange for instrument design info or something of the like?
    – Lecifer
    Oct 23, 2023 at 11:27
  • Why does playing untouched matter? That has nothing to do with drone. Oct 23, 2023 at 12:05
  • @DataProcessing Interested in using it for singing only. So the least amount of “playing” possible.
    – Lecifer
    Oct 23, 2023 at 13:10

2 Answers 2


Trivially every wind instrument with a reservoir, like bagpipes, harmoniums, organs. When the player's mouth cavity is the reservoir, this is called "circular breathing" and can be used for wind instruments with little air use. The didgeridoo is regularly played in that manner, but circular breathing is also an advanced technique in some demand at professional level for instruments such as oboe and flute.

Then there are instruments with a continuous tone even if not of indeterminate length, like bowed strings. The hurdygurdy even gives arbitrary-length notes by employing a circular bow and a crank.

Then there are instruments that are kept vibrating mechanically continuously, like singing glasses or even the glass harmonica, or percussion instruments played with soft mallets in a roll, like cymbals or timpani. There are even plucked string instruments commonly played in a semicontinuous technique like mandolins and balalaikas.

Instrument sections with limited tone length can deliver drones by unsynchronizing breaks in their tone.


Organ, bagpipe, wind gong/tamtam, bells (including church bells as well as plate and tubular bells), Hurdy-Gurdy

The pipe organ is obviously the acoustic drone instrument, as with a single keypress it can sound for ever. And even when the key is released the sound will continue, thanks to the long reverb in churches

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