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Aboriginal art is often created as a depiction of nature. For music, people got some inspiration from natural sounds from animals, trees, water, wind, thunder, and others. All those sounds can be represented by the didgeridoo’s droning sound. Let’s learn about the history Aboriginal music didgeridoo to know more about it.
History of Australian Aboriginal Didgeridoo Music
In the earlier stage of its existence, Didgeridoo was played for the first time by the Aboriginal people who live in the northern part of Australia. The musical instrument is also believed to be found about 40,000 years ago, so it is perhaps the oldest musical instrument ever.
At that time in history Aboriginal music didgeridoo, the musical instrument, was not purposely built by people, but instead, it was authentically created by nature. The music instrument was a fallen branch of the eucalyptus that was large enough to get termite-caused natural hollowing.
When they actually made the didgeridoo, the musical instrument was made out of bamboo. Other types of wood were also used to make musical instruments, which are eucalyptus, ironwood, yucca wood, and agave. To make it, it is simply to make the wood branch hollow.
Nowadays, the didgeridoo is made from easily-formed materials such as plastic, metal, fiberglass, and others.
Why was the Didgeridoo Important to Aboriginal Culture?
For Aboriginal in Australia, the didgeridoo was not just a musical instrument. If it was made from a tree, that particular tree could not be used to make another didgeridoo. It is because Aboriginal people believed that the sound produced by the musical instrument was the sound of the ancestral spirit from the tree.
How to Use Aboriginal Australian Didgeridoo Music?
Didgeridoo can be played with various methods thanks to its versatility. The musical instrument can produce different sounds according to how it is used. It can even be either a percussion instrument or a pitched instrument.
Didgeridoo can produce sounds when the player blows it. The blowing technique is one of the ways to make music out of this musical instrument. For example, overtone pitches are resulted from a high-pressure blow, whereas complex harmonic chords are caused by humming while blowing.
Despite all the varieties, the basic way to play didgeridoo is with circular breathing. It is also used to learn how to blow the musical instrument properly. To do it, the player gathers some air with the nose, then push the air from the cheeks to produce sounds from the musical instrument.
Nowadays, the didgeridoo is used for music entertainment, unlike before. Back then, the musical instrument was used in ritualistic Aboriginal ceremonies such as funerals, healings, and circumcisions. Sometimes, it was also used as background music for story-telling and teaching.
Australian Aboriginal Didgeridoo Music Fun Facts
As special as a traditional musical instrument can be, the didgeridoo also has some fun facts that are interesting to know.
- Has a Mayan Twin, If Aboriginal people have didgeridoo, Mayan people from Central America have la trompeta Maya, which means the Mayan trumpet. Both musical instruments are similar, but the Mayans’ musical instrument is made out of yucca or agave.
- It is Very Long, Didgeridoo has various lengths that range from 90 centimeters to three meters. The length usually depends on the purpose of the musical instrument, as ceremonial ones are usually way longer than their regular counterparts.
- It Can be Placed in a Metal Object, To make a louder sound and increase the resonance from a didgeridoo, the player usually puts one end of the musical instrument in a can.
- Harder does not Mean Louder, Similar to most air music instruments, blowing a didgeridoo harder will not result in a louder sound. Therefore, using amplifying equipment or increasing the resonance are some ways to make louder sounds.
- 5. Are not Allowed to be Played by Women, Many traditions in the enormous country of Australia use didgeridoo to play something like an Aboriginal dance. Some people think that women are not allowed to play the didgeridoo, but some traditions actually allow women to play it.
- The Name’s Origin, It is believed that the name didgeridoo was derived from the words ‘dudaire’ or ‘duidire’, which are Irish for an eavesdropper, hummer, constant smoker, puffer, or trumpeter. But, some also thought that the name came from the sound made by the musical instrument.
Art is made to be enjoyed. Experience the sound of the didgeridoo, or even try to play it. The history Aboriginal music didgeridoo can go hand in hand with that experience.