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An Extra-Ordinary Feat... Re-Inventing the Didgeridoo

By Dr Bruce Copley


For thousands of years the Australian didgeridoo has undergone very few changes in its traditional design and playing technique. In recent years a handful of players and designers seeking to go beyond the limited monotone sound of the didgeridoo, have used technology to greatly extend the sound and scope of this ancient instrument. Electronic synthesisers, the face bass, the slide didge, the keyed didge and the cello didge are a few examples. In contrast to the many TECHNOLOGICAL advances that have been made, didgeridoo PLAYING TECHNIQUES have lagged far behind. DR BRUCE COPLEY a South African player who has recently made his appearance on the international didge scene has in the space of only 8 years, pushed the didge where it has never been before, pushed it into its wildest edge of edges and literally EVOLVED AND REINVENTED this ancient wind instrument.

What follows are a listing of some of the extraordinary skills and applications that have emerged from Bruce's ongoing playful and serious exploration of the didgeridoo which he describes as the greatest teacher he has ever had. While Bruce strongly urges players to push their own boundaries, he also points out that some of the techniques described below are potentially dangerous and are only mastered after hundreds of hours of practice.