Didgeridoo – The World’s Oldest Wind Instrument
By Alexander Oprea 2011
As history would have it, the didgeridoo is perceived as the world’s oldest wind instrument. It is estimated to date back thousands of years ago, as it originated as a musical instrument from the North Australian Aborigine.
Playing the Didgeridoo
This wind instrument is played traditionally together with clap sticks or clapping two boomerangs together in various ceremonial dances. People who play the didgeridoo can tap out the rhythms on the side of it with the aid of their sticks or fingers.
How The Didgeridoo Keys Work
The key that the instrument will be in can be determined by the thickness, shape and length of the wood being sawed off. The shorter lengths can yield higher pitches while the lower pitches can be pulled off by the longer lengths. If anyone wants to learn how to play on the didgeridoo, he has to start by learning how to play with the keys C and D. Generally, didgeridoos can range in keys, from a low ‘A’ to a high ‘G’.
How The Didgeridoo Is Made
Traditionally, a didgeridoo is made from Eucalyptus saplings or branches. Although eucalyptus have hundreds of species, only about a dozen can be used to make didgeridoo. It entails perfect timing to make the perfect didgeridoo instrument. The perfect wall thickness of the wind instrument is based on the hollowed eucalyptus tree. And the one making the instrument has to make sure that the instrument is not too thin nor too thick.
Termites naturally hollow out the eucalyptus tree. It takes them more or less one year to hollow a eucalyptus tree out. So the people making the didgeridoo have to be patient enough to wait for the right time to harvest it.
Moreover, the bark is most often stripped from the outsides so that the termites can be removed from it. To dramatically decrease the diameter of a huge opening down to a more playable-sized aperture, the makers of didgeridoo can apply a rim of beeswax in it. The mouth area of this wind instrument is applied with wax – that serve both as an ideal airtight seal.
With this, the Didgeridoo becomes more comfortable to play. For the external decorations of the didgeridoo, people usually opt for ochre painting as this symbolize food associated with a certain tribe or an emblem. One can also opt to leave is as it is, just plain but still a sight to look at while serving its function well.
A didgeridoo, just like the highly renowned Djembe drum, is one of the most popular musical instruments that African are very fond of. The Africans’ and Australians’ love for drums and didgeridoos are clearly manifested in their festive and lively cultures.
For Didgeridoo shopping check out our store. We carry many African musical instruments that are hand crafted and hand carved. If you are a fan of the Djembe drum we have it as well.
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