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 Post subject: didgeridoo
PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 10:25 am 
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Location: In a ditch, just down the road from the pub
Got one for Christmas from my mum.

It's lovely, but I don't have a clue how to play it. I have a mate who is a real virtuoso - he has didge's in loads of keys, and has played with our band on occasion... haven't seen him for a while though, so no tips from that source until our paths cross again.

Anyone know of any decent web resources for this thing?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 12:05 pm 
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1. Take didge into outback
2. Come back when you can play it.

Never tried this approach - I figure I'd die of starvation or be eaten by a rabid roo before getting seamless circular breathing.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 12:48 pm 
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Try blowing in the end of it.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2007 1:08 pm 
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You have to blow a sort of soft raspberry into the end that curves inwards, there might possibly beeswax there, mine had beeswax. Experiment with your raspberry until the didge does what it's supposed to.

The you have to learn circular breathing, which I never did. I gave my didge away to a bodhran player.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2007 5:11 pm 
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If it's a proper "authentic" Didgeridoo, it should have blackstuff on the end which smells like naptha or mothballs, is kneadable, and is, as Seisflutes says, beeswax from a particular kind of Australian bee. This means that you can adjust the mouthpiece to your mouth.

Lots of Didges don't have this. Mostly they tend to be bored sticks or bamboo with bitumen on the end. They are harder to play, but it can be done.

It's like blowing a conch or a bugle. You blow a rasperry into it. If you take in enough air, you can alter the note you blow until you find the point of resonance. That's the note you want.

I have a tape of Didgeridoo lessons. There are lots of different ways to play. It's very narrative. You can make a sound like a kangaroo, or an emu, or a wombat or a whale. You can do Wow-wow noises and even talk through it, which takes a bit of practice.

It's doesn't sound like much unless you can do the circular breathing, though. Even whistle players do circular breathing, but doing it on the scale of breath required for a didgeridoo is an effort. That's where it counts if you have the real, authentic didgeridoo. Or you could get some beeswax of your own and modify the mouthpiece so that it suits your mouth and you don't lose so much air.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2007 6:17 pm 
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I think that circular breathing on the didgeredoo is not very difficult to learn, and, like riding a bicycle, once you discover how to do it, you don't forget how. There are many good online websites about how to learn circular breathing on the didg.

I think that it is easier to learn on a dideredoo that isn't too low pitched. Lower pitched didgeredoos take more air to sustain the note.

For beginners it is easy to make a simple didgeredoo from a piece of pvc pipe and off-the-shelf couplings and fittings for the mouthpiece. Again, there are a number of websites explaining how to make a pvc didg. I can tell you from experience that these simple didgeredoos are a lot easier to learn to play than many of the "authentic" didgeredoos that I have seen in stores. The same thing can be said about Irish flutes.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 11:10 am 
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Doug_Tipple wrote:
I think that it is easier to learn on a dideredoo that isn't too low pitched. Lower pitched didgeredoos take more air to sustain the note.



All the ones I've come across seem to be about a metre and a half in length - or about four feet long. I know there are longer ones, but I haven't seen shorter.
And with a bore at least an inch diameter and sometimes as much as two (in the bamboo fakes).

A high-pitched didge is not something I've experienced. But maybe I'll try making my own descant didgeridoo.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 11:14 am 
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Some didges are simply more resonnant than others (for a beginner), taking far less air. An excellent player recommended this ugly, foam-covered straight-bored PVC(?) stick, commercially sold as a beginner's didge. Much fun. Yesterday I had the breathing down pat.

One trick on circular breathing: Breathe-Rite nose strips.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 29, 2007 12:30 pm 
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I just a quick Google search, and, like I thought, there are a number of sites showing how to make a pvc didge. For a beginner, however, I recommend not heating and bending the pvc. You really don't need to do that to make a beginning didgeredoo that is very easy to play.

Like it mentioned before, one of the secrets of learning to play the didg is to get or make an instrument that isn't too low in pitch. I just checked one of my pvc didgeridoos, which is in the key of D. A didg in the key of D or E is a good place to begin. Here are the specs for my didg in the key of D.

First, try getting a piece of off-the-shelf pvc pipe that is thin-wall (schedule 80?) with an internal diameter of 1 1/2". Schedule 40 pvc pipe will be too heavy. Since I have my didg painted, I am not sure what size and schedule number, but take a tape measure with you when you buy pipe to be sure you are buying the right size of pipe. The total length of my didg, including the end coupling and reducing bushings is 45 1/4". Hint: with pvc couplings you can make a didge that will play in different keys. You can have a beginner's didg (key of E or D) and a lower pitched didge all-together in one instrument.

In addition to a length of pipe, I use a female-female coupling on the end of the pipe. In the open end of the coupling I use two reducing bushings that reduce the internal diameter of the mouthpiece down to one inch. A one inch diameter mouthpiece is easy to seal with your mouth, whereas trying to blow with a 1 1/2" mouthpiece without the reducing bushings is much more difficult. The total weight of my pvc didg in the key of D is only one pound and .4 ounces, which is about the weight of my concert silver flute.

Hints for playing the dideredoo: 1) Try blowing from the side of your mouth rather than straight-on. 2) Keep in mind that it only takes a very small volume of air passing through pursed lips to sustain a note on the didgeredoo. You need to maintain a tight embouchure with your lips. 3) You cannot do circular breathing unless you are able to breath freely through your nose, as you need to take in a volume of air quickly through the nose. If you are doing it correctly, you can sustain a note on the didgerdoo without interruption for 30 minutes and not get dizzy or out of breath. 4) Try playing a rhythm instrument with your free hand while you are blowing the didg.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2007 6:05 pm 
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Sorry to be so slow replying.

Thanks all, especially Doug. :) Loads of info there, mate. Ta very much.

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And whether the skin be black or white as the snow.
Of kith and of kin we are one, be it right, be it wrong.
As long as our hearts beat true to the lilt of a song.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 2:16 am 
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how I was teached circular breathing by an Australian player
in the authentic way:
put the stick into water and watch the bubbles
that's far more easier than listening to your sound


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