NewsThe Complete Guide to Didgeridoos

February 2, 2021

The didgeridoo is a wind instrument of the natives of northern Australia, typically made of wood. Digeridoo is most commonly known as one of the Aboriginal instruments.

It is played in a ceremonial event in a traditional context to complement song and dance in which it serves as an instrument of rhythmic music. 

It is also played outside of the ceremony in northern Australia for fun and entertainment purposes. The traditional didgeridoo is used to play a special technique called “circular breathing” the player’s vibrating lips create a steady drone whilst quick air lunges are inhaled through the nose.

The didgeridoo instrument is also known as the Yidaki or didjeridu it is usually made out of a tree trunk, which is hollowed out by termites. It can produce an enormous number of different timbres, in spite of being played only on one note. 

This is because a skilled player modifies the acoustics in the mouth to create strong resonances at a variety of frequencies.

The didgeridoo instrument has been adopted by Aboriginal people around Australia in more contemporary times and it would be deemed Australia’s national aboriginal instrument. 

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The didgeridoo has also spread across the globe, attracting musicians and world music enthusiasts. So many didgeridoo players are found around the world today.

With the worldwide popularity of the didgeridoo, modern ways of making and playing the instrument have arisen outside its traditional lowlands in northern Australia.  several types of wood and materials such as PVC to leather-are used in different countries today to make didgeridoos.

Though the favored and traditional didgeridoo material is termite-hollowed trunk or branch of the eucalyptus tree among the Northern Australian aboriginal peoples.

New and fresh styles of play today include a wide range of techniques and structures, from slow meditation drones to fast, percussive, and dance rhythms, which produce wonderful ambient music.

Many Didgeridoo players enjoy the Aboriginal instrument greatly because it gives both the players and the listeners a soothing and pleasant feeling.

Recent studies show it may also be beneficial for sleep apnea, snoring, and asthma. In any case, the didgeridoo is without a doubt is one of the most unusual and amazing musical instruments in the world.

Can anyone play the Didgeridoos?

Certain Aboriginal groups have constraints that men can play the didgeridoo instrument in public and religious ceremonies, although it is rare for women and children to learn informally to play the instrument.

Most traditional Digeridoo is exclusively played by men and women are prohibited from even touching the instrument in other groups.

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It is vital that the traditional owners have permitted to play the instrument by non-Indigenous people.

Although it is accepted by some Aboriginal groups some others feel that allowing non-Aboriginal people to play an instrument is cultural theft.

Construction of the Didgeridoos

  • Didgeridoo is usually believed to originate from the northern and the north-eastern areas of Kimberley’s.
  •  These areas coincide with the distribution of the stringybark and the woolly butt, the two types of eucalyptus trees. In ancient times, aboriginal people in Central Australia traded both wood and bamboo in their special boomerangs for different sizes of didgeridoos.
  • Once an area is marked, the indigenous craftsmen would only tap the tree or brands to see if it is hollow enough.
  • Special stone axes have been used in ancient times to trim the wood, but now chainsaws are used to give a traditional cut.
  • The retained termite in each stick will be cleaned by soaking the length in water for a few days and then taking it out with stick or coals.
  • Other components are then stripped of the outer bark using machetes.
  • There you have it a finished, natural didgeridoo that is ready to paint.

What is inside a didgeridoos?

The didgeridoo is one of the world’s oldest wooden brass instruments. It is basically originated from Northern Australia and is played by the natives of the region.

Didgeridoos are usually made of eucalyptus trees, natural termites.

The end of the mouthpiece will have beeswax applied to it, to make it easier to play and to seal the vibration.

Didgeridoos function in various keys or pitches, based on the shape, weight, width, and thickness of the wall.

How is the Tone Created on the Didgeridoos?

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Hollowed by termites, the eucalyptus branch produces a profound and fundamental tone, in which multi-layered and rhythmic modulations can be made for various singing, recording, clapping, screaming, or trumpets. 

And the circular breathing makes it possible to keep an uninterrupted tone even when breathing in.

The drone is the fundamental tone of the traditional didgeridoo. This is accomplished by placing the lips on the mouth of the didgeridoo, on the smaller end of the instrument, with loosely vibrational your mouth. 

The technique of vibrating lips is also called raspberry blowing.

It requires a little practice to get a good solid drone sound with the right amount of vibration from your lips. Do not attempt to vibrate your lips with too much tension to get a drone this would rather get you a trumpet note than a drone and you might also not get a sound too little vibration in your lips.

Every didgeridoo is different and plays with a different frequency in its own natural rhythm.

How Do You Play the Didgeridoos?

Playing the didgeridoo is all about control, a small amount of air to be managed and released. 

It’s about a gentle, relaxed vibration of the mouth, nothing about blowing the instrument hard.

Blow your lips with a gentle amount of air. Bring your lips together while keeping them relaxed and start vibrating together. 

This could at first sound pretty unnatural because you have probably not done it before. People often refer to this as blowing a raspberry.

So, since you were very new to this. Continue to practice, gradually, it will get much easier.

This is the most important technique because the sound of your lip actually vibrates the didgeridoo and is intensifies to produce the sound, drone, not the volume of air.

Be careful to not let leak air from the lips to the didgeridoo mouthpiece. It’s nearly impossible to play if the air leaks in.

Yes, it is a bit of a challenge to keep the drone on a single breath which is around Five to ten seconds or sometimes longer.

But nothing practice can’t get hold of. Keep practicing until you get hold of the tone and get the breathing consistent.

Different keys of the Didgeridoos

The didgeridoo drone actually plays at one particular key, based on the size of the inside, outside, finish, bell, etc of the instrument. Since each didgeridoo is different, they will produce different keys.

The different length of the wood which is stripped off- its thickness and shape will determine which key the instrument will be in. Shorter lengths yield higher pitches, where lower pitches are produced from longer lengths. 

Didgeridoos generally range from a high “G” to a low “A” key. The common “C” didgeridoo will be two octaves under the middle “C” of the piano. 

The keys to C, D, and E are the easiest keys to learn how to play the didgeridoo.

Didgeridoo Sounds

  • Kangaroo Hop
  • Dingo Howl
  • The Tongue Roll
  • Dog Bark
  • kookaburra sound
  • The Hornblast or Toot
  • Cockatoo bird sound

Where to buy Didgeridoos?

We offer an excellent collection of authentic didgeridoos for sale for Didgeridoo players and enthusiasts didgeridoos directly from the home of the didgeridoos.

All artworks and didgeridoos purchased via the website are guaranteed by the Top Didj and Art Gallery.

If the work of art or the purchase of a didgeridoo does not meet your standards, you can return it to the gallery within 21 days and get a full refund or exchange it for your desired artwork or a different didgeridoo.

We offer you great authentic services for more information contact us today!