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Taking primitive instruments to the next level: The Electronic Didgeridoo

Very few instruments can make the hair on your arms stand up in the way that a didgeridoo can.  Long and low tones escape the base as you blow into it, creating a musical sound that can't be replicated with any other pipe. Although not as popular in modern times, the didgeridoo is the world's oldest wind instrument.   A natural wooden trumpet that was traditionally fashioned from eucalyptus trees, the Didgeridoo is still widely used in traditional celebrations today.  Some modern didgeridoos are created from PVC pipe, and recently an electronic version was created with the help of blue tooth technology and a little computer know-how.

The type of materials used to create it as well as the length of the instrument affect the sound created by the Didgeridoo.  Long pipes produce low sounds, and short pipes are capable of more high-pitched sounds that can sound similar to birdcalls.  Using tubes of bamboo, eucalyptus, or teak that was hollowed out by termites or ants, ancient peoples were able to easily craft wooden didgeridoos.  As insects hollowed the interiors, no two didgeridoo's were alike and the instruments all had a different sound.  The mouthpiece is fitted with beeswax to create a seal when blowing.  Today's pipes are made either by hand crafters or machines, and most remain undecorated out of respect for ancient aboriginal ancestry. You control the sound of the pipe, as the player themselves can produce different sounds with a change in lip shape or breathing. Most didgeridoos are currently used in Celtic and Ska music.

The electronic didgeridoo takes the windpipe to an entirely new level.  Fitted with a blue tooth accessory and a wireless microphone, the user blows into the PVC pipe and transmits the audio straight into the computer.    The electronic didgeridoo looks more like a telescope or a rifle, and the pipe itself is fitted with toggle switches and push button switches enabling the user to adjust the sound and contrast of the pipe while blowing.  No longer do you need to huff specifically to create sounds, as the electronic didgeridoo adjusts the melody for you.  The sound is part Star Wars, part jungle, and it gives you a flavor of primitive music straight onto your computer.

To make an electronic didgeridoo, you'll need an advanced degree in electronic tinkering.  It's a pipe that is unique to the inventor Kyle Evans, the enthusiast who decided to take his PVC didgeridoo to the next level.   The electronic didgeridoo is proof positive that when technology meets primitive instrument, the results can be spectacular.

29th Oct 2014

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