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The History of the Didjeridoo


Circular breathing is the technique employed for playing continuously. When commencing to play the didjeridoo, most people are impatient to learn circular breathing. The first efforts should be directed to developing a base sound.

This sound is like a foundation to which other sounds are combined and so form the composition. Building these sounds and mixing them into an audible, harmonious extension is hard. Breathing can be mastered in twenty minutes. Seriously!

So forget breathing for the time being. Five things are used to produce the different sounds of the didjeridoo. These are the lips; tongue; voice; cheeks and stomach.

Lips and tongue are used to get the vibrating, resonating sound. They can also be used to get the direction, pace and tune of the composition. The voice is used to enhance the players pace and tune. It is also used for making the various mimicking bird and animal sounds. The stomach is used as a bellow, forcing the air up and out from the lower diaphragm. This creates the deep pumping rhythm. Also, the cheeks may be used to squeeze or expel air forcefully from the mouth, creating either a pumping or spitting effect.

The sounds which may be produced are limited only by the individual. Remember nearly everyone's first attempts sound terrible. Once accustomed to lip positions and sounds related to this, improvement is rapid.

Probably, the worst practice is to become too analytical, this can prove more an obstacle than an asset. Playing should be a subconscious extension of the player. A good Gunbarrk will play itself, you just add the air.