Didgeridoo Acoustics

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  • Topic: Trumpet, Didgeridoo, Harmonic series
  • Pages : 4 (1271 words )
  • Download(s) : 398
  • Published : October 25, 2010
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Three years ago I went to Australia to explore the vast diversity of the land and culture. Along the way I made friendships with multiple natives of the land, whom are called Aborigines. I was exposed to many of the native customs and beliefs, one of which being their music. Not being a musician myself, but possessing a huge love and respect for music of all sorts, especially cultural music, I was immediately interested in the unique way they used music to pass on their culture, stories, and traditions. The instrument I became most familiar with was the didgeridoo. I was privileged to be giving the opportunity to make my own didgeridoo under the instruction of an Aboriginal. Ever since then, I have had a special interest in this instrument and how it works. This paper will examine with the viewpoint of a physicist how didgeridoos are constructed, their acoustic properties, and why it is they can make such a wide range of sounds.

Didgeridoos are ancient instruments that are quite simply and naturally constructed. The physicist could explain their design as nothing more complex than a hollow tube or pipe. Technically the instrument is made from eucalyptus branches that have been buried beneath the ground and hollowed out by termites. The branches are then de-earthed, cleaned out, striped of bark (if desired), filled with a wax substance and plugged with a special wax mouthpiece that makes it easier to play as well as more comfortable for the musician. The didgeridoo can then be painted and carved as desired for decoration purposes or for cultural significance. The length of the didgeridoo varies but is most commonly 1-1.5 meters long. On average the the wall thickness is 5 to 10 mm, the blowing end is approximately 30mm in internal diameter, and the far end is approximately 50 mm in diameter. Because of the various techniques and methods used in creating a didgeridoo the final result as an instrument is quite unique. The timbre as well as the...
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