Echo Tree: The
Didgeridoo Craftsmen - Didgeridoos with Edge
"If the earth had a voice it would be the sound of a Didgeridoo"
Before you buy or play a Didgeridoo learn more about this amazing Australian Instrument
I What is a Didgeridoo? I
I Health Properties I
I Natural Harmony I
I Effects I
I How it works I
I Origins I
I Termites I
I Materials I
I Women I
I Return to our didgeridoos I
Yidaki, Didgeridoo, Didjeridu, Didjeridoo, Digeridoo, Dijeridoo, Didgeridu, Digeridu.....
However you spell it we have a d
idj for you!
Echo Tree We Match People
is a Didgeridoo?
The didgeridoo of the Australian Aborigine comes in many different shapes and forms today but traditionally it is suggested that it was made from bamboo. The origin of the didgeridoo is not accurately known, though some research indicates its birth may have been as recent as one thousand years ago.
(World Archaeology-vol 12, no 3, Alice Moyle).
It is possible that termite hollowed trees were used in pre-colonial times but the evidence suggests that bamboo was the predominant original material.
The fact that bamboo didgeridoos were quite common among northerly groups in the Northern Territory during the last century is confirmed by the word 'bamboo' which is still used in the lingua franca by some Aborigines when referring to the instrument, though 'didgeridoo', (didjeridu, didgeridoo, didgeridu) may be gaining ground.
Some observations on 'three very curious trumpets' made by R.Etheridge Jr. in 1893 are quoted for consideration in this context as they refer particularly to instruments of bamboo. Etheridge writes that:
' ..[the trumpets] are made from bamboo lengths, the diaphragms having been removed, probably by dropping live coals down the tubes. The bamboo, I am informed by Mr. Stockdale, grows about the Adelaide River over an area of about one hundred miles by fifty, and reaches to a height of eighty feet, Mr. J.H. Maiden tells me there are two bamboos indigenous in Australia, Bambusa arnhemica and B.moreheadiana, the latter a climbing species and only one or two inches in diameter.'
The suggestion here is that the first didgeridoos were of bamboo and an article in Smith's Weekly also supports this view
1919 Smith's Weekly (Sydney) 5 April 15/1
'The Northern Territory Aborigines have an infernal - allegedly musical - instrument, composed of two feet of hollow bamboo. It produces but one sound - 'didjerry, didjerry, didjerry - ' and so on ad infinitum.. When a couple of niggers started grinding their infernal 'didjerry' half the hot night through, the blasphemous manager decided on revenge.'
Because of the availability of bamboo in the north-western region of the Northern Territory, the first didgeridoo players may well have belonged to that region.
Pre-colonial Distribution of the Didgeridoo
There is also evidence that the didgeridoo may have originally been more wide spread than just in the northern regions of Australia.
Some evidence for this is to be found in the literature on central Australian groups. Spencer and Gillen (1899) refer to a "rudimentary trumpet" (60cm. In length) called ilpirra or ulpirra.
"This was used by Aboriginal men as a magic charm for obtaining wives. C.Strehlow (1908: 77 and Teil IV,p.15) shows illustrations of the tjurunga ulburu and the karakara, the latter used in an Aranda Itata, or public celebration in which women participated. T.G.H Strehlow (1947: 78-9) writes of a 'low toned wooden ulbura trumpet' used by southern Aranda people on the Finke River. The instrument is pictured representing the neck (rantja) of a venomous snake 'playfully "biting" a novice from another Aranda group' (picture facing p. 89). Eylmann (1908) refers to wooden and bamboo trumpets; and his illustrations include a 'Trompete der Waramunga', that is of a desert group in area"
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Giving Properties of the Didgeridoo
Playing the didgeridoo can be very beneficial to the health.
Lung capacity and efficiency can be improved, while great benefits can be gained from the revitalizing effects that circular breathing has.
Asthmatics in particular are significantly benefited by the health giving properties of circular breathing when playing the didgeridoo. The energy boost and revitalization resulting from ten or twenty minutes of playing can be experienced by anyone and is especially noticeable when the player has been feeling lethargic or tired from too much or too little activity.
Extra breathing and lung activity increases the oxygen supplied to the body, similar in effect to exercise. The sharp breaths through the nostrils act to clear out the nasal cavities, thus eliminating excess toxin-carrying mucous. During the creation of rhythms your diaphragm muscles are actively used and exercised, and this has a similar effect on the internal organs, as do specific yoga exercises designed to enhance the assimilation of food and elimination of waste. Also, this active use of the diaphragm muscle aids in toning up the stomach externally.
Didgeridoo playing also has the ability to reduce stress levels and elevate the mood giving a sense of well-being and achievement, as mastery of this unique instrument is achieved.
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Didgeridoo In Harmony With Nature
didgeridoo represents the true spirit of Australia
an Aborigine would go into nature and listen intensely to animal sounds,
not just voices but also the flapping of wings or the thump of feet on
the ground. The Aborigine would also listen to the sounds of wind, thunder,
trees creaking, and water running. The essences of all these sounds were
played with as much accuracy as possible within the droning sound of the
didjereedoo. For the Aborigine, the observation of nature immediately
requires a state of empathy, which leads to an imitative expression."
Effects Caused by the Didgeridoo
Playing the Didgeridoo Will Make Your LED Clock Display 'Float' or 'Vibrate'.
Next time you are playing your didgeridoo have a look at your microwave clock or any other LED type digital display. You will find that it does strange things! This is not because it actually is, but because the vibrations caused by the instrument are also causing your skull to vibrate. This vibration interacts with the 50 cycles per second that your LED clock is flashing at (because of the AC current that is supplied by the electricity supplier). The resulting effect is similar to the one you have probably seen on TV when another TV or computer screen is shown and is seen to 'roll' or jump around. Another similar example is also on TV when a spoked wheel appears to be going backward when we know full well that it isn't.
While Playing the Didgeridoo it is Possible to Levitate a Light Object in Front of the Instrument.
While playing the didgeridoo you can try your trick with a very thin piece of paper (like a cigarette paper), a small piece of tissue or a feather. After you get a constant note, get a friend to hold the paper in front of the bottom end of the instrument, right close to the opening. It will hover and vibrate at the end of the didgeridoo! It's a good way to practice a smooth drone while circular breathing, and an interesting way to introduce the didgeridoo into conversation!
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Does a Didgeridoo Work?
Sound is actually a compression wave that travels through the air at about 340 meters every second. When the didgeridoo is blown, these waves are traveling down the inside of the instrument and coming out the bottom end.
Vibration of the lips creates this sound and the speed at which they are vibrated governs the pitch that is made. The didgeridoo gains a distinctive and stronger sound when its 'harmonic' or 'resonant frequency' is reached. The resonant frequency of a particular instrument is created by the formation of a 'standing wave' along the length of the hollowed section of the didgeridoo.
For any given didgeridoo there is more than one resonant frequency. This is because the formation of harmonics is a mathematically governed process which is directly related to the length of the instrument used.
The longer the didgeridoo is, the lower the note it will produce.
Below you will find diagrams and mathematical formulas that will give a more in depth look at the physics of standing waves in closed tubes - a didgeridoo becomes a closed tube when played.
Standing waves can occur in any wave medium that is enclosed, including the air. For the latter, we can produce standing sound waves, responsible for the rich tones from brass and woodwind instruments, and organs. Of equal importance, standing sound waves within our vocal tract are the basis for producing our voice for others to hear. There are both similarities and differences between standing waves on a string and standing sound waves in a pipe. We will first emphasize the differences, which are most pronounced when we consider a pipe of length L, that is open at one end and closed at the other. Later, we will look at a standing sound wave in a pipe that produces a very similar harmonic series of frequencies as those from a stretched string.
Standing sound waves in a pipe or didgeridoo, open at one end and closed at the other end, differ from standing waves on a string. First, there is an obvious difference in the wave medium. For the latter, the leftward going and rightward going traveling waves that are superimposed to form the standing wave pattern are transverse displacements of a string. For standing sound waves, the wave medium is typically air, and the waves themselves are longitudinal, corresponding to regions of compression and rarefaction of the air. A second important difference is how the traveling sound waves are reflected at the two ends of the pipe. At the end of a pipe open to the air, the pressure at the end of the pipe cannot oscillate. Instead, it is fixed at the ambient pressure of the surrounding air. This is completely analogous to the fixed end of a string; in other words, at the open end of the pipe, the standing sound wave pattern must have a node. The situation is different for the closed end of the pipe. Here, the pressure can vary; in fact, for the standing sound wave, the air pressure oscillation at the closed end has its greatest amplitude. In other words, there is an antinode in the standing sound wave pattern at the closed end of the pipe
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Does the Word 'Didgeridoo' Come From?
There are probably over 50 different synonyms for the didgeridoo. Some are bambu, bombo, kambu, pampuu, (may reflect didgeridoo origins from bamboo), garnbak, illpirra, martba, Jiragi, Yiraki, Yidaki, (seem close dialectically and which means "bamoo" although no longer commonly made from bamboo).
The table below details more names with their tribal groups and regions also listed:
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Termites and the Didgeridoo
When termites (sometimes called 'white ants', which is not actually technically correct!) hollow out the canter of a didgeridoo, hundreds of channels and irregularities are formed. This alters the resonance of the didgeridoo creating the unique sound that represents the spirit of Australia. The resonance is altered because sound waves react with the irregular surface inside the termite hollowed instrument. Many overtones (like ripples in a creek when the water runs over shallow pebbles) are created; giving a full harmonious and warm sound that is 'multi-layered' in its characteristics.
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Materials Can a Didgeridoo Be Made From?
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Women Play the Didgeridoo?
"This aims to clarify some misunderstandings
of the role of didgeridoo in traditional Aboriginal culture, in particular
the popular conception that it is taboo for women to play or even touch
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