What is PureTones?

PureTones is an exploration of Indian Classical music to understand the role of harmonics, microtones and consonance in Indian music and musical scales. Our first project is the PureTones Drone which is a digital emulation of the Tanpura (a drone instrument used in Indian Classical music).

Experience PureTones

Here are three recordings to showcase the sound of the PureTones drone.

PureTones Drone for Raga Komal Rishabh Asavari

Start by listening to the PureTones drone track which has been fine tuned to suit Raga Komal Rishabh Asavari. Does the drone track suggest Raga Komal Rishabh Asavari to you?

Signature Tune in Raga Komal Rishabh Asavari

Now listen to a signature tune in Raga Komal Rishabh Asavari with the PureTones drone accompaniment in the background. How well do you think the signature tune matches with the drone?

Raga Alapana in Raga Komal Rishabh Asavari on Chandraveena

While the signature tune is just a simple example, you can also listen to S Balachander performing a Raga Alapana with the PureTones drone accompaniment in the background.

PureTones Audio and Video Channels

If these recordings sounded interesting to you, then remember to check out our YouTube channel and Bandcamp page for more.

We periodically release works from PureTones in the form of synthesized tracks. These tracks feature both the drone accompaniment as well as patterns and motifs in the supported scales so that you can experience the musical consonance for yourselves.

We feature several different tunings supporting different musical scales to give you an idea of the flexibility of PureTones. We also feature recordings of live performances using PureTones, featuring S Balachander on Chandraveena, to showcase it in a live setting.

How PureTones started

The idea of PureTones originates from our investigation to understand the workings and the musical potential of the Tanpura. Any fan, student or artist of Indian Classical music knows how the resonant and calming tones emitted by the Tanpura provide a rich atmosphere which encourages music, and also supports the reference note, Sa.

A typical Tanpura has 4 strings often tuned as Pa SA SA Sa with Sa representing the fundamental, Pa the fifth and SA the octave. The use of a rounded bridge and a cotton thread inserted between the string and the bridge, causes the contact point of the vibrating string to keep shifting subtly. This makes the Tanpura emit a dispersion of overtones from each string (akin to a prism splitting white light into a rainbow).

An expert artist can finely tune the strings to enable the selected Raga to seamlessly blend in, to the harmonic envelope of the Tanpura. PureTones aims to explore and emulate this capability.

If you are interested to learn how a Tanpura works and how PureTones emulates the harmonic envelope of a Tanpura, please check out the Story of the PureTones Drone.

Support PureTones

The PureTones drone and other tools are under development. The recordings above have been synthesized from a development version. We are eager to bring these tools to the music community. Please help us to do so, by giving your valuable time to listen to these tracks and leave your feedback. If you like the quality of these tracks, please consider supporting our development efforts by purchasing our tracks on Bandcamp.

If you are a music student with a request for a specific scale tuned at a specific pitch, please get in touch. If you are a musician and would like to evaluate and record with the PureTones drone, please write to us.

You can reach us at puretones@sadharani.com.

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