I have been wanting to know this for a long time. It is when a note stays on while some other notes are being played at the same time, it is kind of like a Pedal Point from research. Here are some examples of them being used below, the type I'm looking for is for calming songs I'm not quite sure on the term for it.

  1. Varieties Of Exile, Beirut, at about 2:10 and about 4:10

  2. Some Minecraft Story Mode Music:

    . Occurs at many places, like 0:14 - 0:24

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    "Drone note" or "drone" is normally what I've heard it called. "Pedal point" usually refers to a "drone" in the bass.
    – LSM07
    Apr 16, 2019 at 0:27
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    @LSM07 pedal point is the usual term in classical theory for a note that is held for an extended but temporary period in a piece, even if not in the bass (though it is commonly in the bass and it takes its name from that fact). Drone tends to suggest that the note sounds throughout an entire piece or nearly so. But "drone" is certainly responsive to this question and deserves to be mentioned in an answer, not just a comment.
    – phoog
    Apr 16, 2019 at 2:27
  • jet plane sound: you can have it for 8 hours: youtube.com/watch?v=kuGl_qvgoaA Apr 16, 2019 at 8:47

1 Answer 1


Yes, "pedal point" is the accurate term for it!

If you're looking for another term, a pedal point can be understood as a particular type of ostinato, or repeating musical figure. Often an ostinato is a melodic and/or rhythmic idea, but I have heard musicians refer to a static pedal as a type of ostinato, as well.

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    “Drone” is another word that can apply in some cases, like bagpipes or EDM. Apr 16, 2019 at 4:21
  • Drone is good. What about bumblebee? youtube.com/watch?v=XUQCO23C2eA or jet plane sound? youtube.com/watch?v=UJ6GmaZVFkU Apr 16, 2019 at 8:40
  • @ToddWilcox Great point; I somehow didn't think of that term. Albrecht, I've never heard "bumblebee" or "jet plane sound"; perhaps those are lost in translation?
    – Richard
    Apr 16, 2019 at 10:59
  • Hmmm.. @AlbrechtHügli "Flight of the Bumblebee" and Villa-Lobos' "The Jet-Whistle" :-) Apr 16, 2019 at 15:16

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