The didgeridoo has captivated people from around the world. A uniquely-designed instrument, the didgeridoo not only has a captivating look, but a sound unlike any other instrument. Plus, mastering the breathing technique needed to play the didgeridoo makes this indigenous Australian instrument all the more fascinating and mysterious.
The earliest didgeridoo discovery dates back over 1500 years in Northern Australia, with ancient illustrations depicting its use over 20,000 years ago. The original didgeridoos were constructed from eucalyptus branches that had been hollowed out by termites. Using beeswax, one end of the didgeridoo is used as a mouthpiece, sealing the end around the didge player’s mouth, while providing the foundation for the unique, low hum of the instrument.
Playing the didgeridoo requires more than blowing air through the average 4-foot length branch. A technique called “circular breathing” is required in order to produce the show-stopping sound. Circular breathing takes practice and dedication, which also adds to the mystery of the didgeridoo. Through simultaneously blowing air out through the mouth while inhaling through the nose, a seamless drone is produced that has been said to be healing for both the didgeridoo player, as well as for those listening to the song of the didge.
While thought to be one of the oldest instruments, the didgeridoo is still prevalent in several different areas of life and music. In healing circles, the didgeridoo is used to provide wellness benefits through the tones and frequencies played. As a type of music therapy, the didge has been said to help alleviate pain, stress and anxiety, and help with sleep issues. In music, the didgeridoo is heard in the music of Australia, as well as in all types of World Music and has seen resurgence in techno, trance and house music played at clubs.
From its ancient roots, to the foundation for many genres of modern music, the didgeridoo has established itself as a unique instrument with a wide range of applications today. Mastering the didgeridoo requires dedication and determination, and the payoff is as valuable as the rich history of the instrument itself.