While playing Didgeridoo, traditionally Aborigines mimic the sounds of their surroundings. These sounds can be mixed with droning to create rhythms, which is how the Didgeridoo is used as a rhythm wind instrument.
The Kangaroo Hop. Keep the drone going on the didgeridoo and quickly say the letter D. Tap the roof of your mouth with the tip of your tongue while you do it. Now, to create the sound of hopping just say "doing" while playing.
The Dog Bark and Growl. Keep the drone going and scream into the didgeridoo. A loud and startling sound should come out. Refine it by trying to imitate a deep growl and dog bark.
The Kookaburra is of the kingfisher family and considered the protector by Aboriginal people and is distinguished by its gurgling, laughter like call. Bird call is talking rather than singing in Aboriginal cultures, only humans can sing.
Listen to the actual kookaburra call. This sound file is provided by Will Campbell of the Los Angeles Zoo who waited 45 minutes to get this clip for us from a resident kookaburra! Thanks Will!
Once the drone is going on the didgeridoo try tightening and loosening your lips and moving your tongue into the letter E position slightly to change the pitch. If for example a didgeridoo is tuned to key of C you should be able to vary the key from C sharp to C flat with just lip pressure.
Try very quickly to expel the air in your mouth while playing the didgeridoo to make a popping noise. Try using your cheeks first then try the back of your tongue. Each will expel the air differently and change the sound.
The Tongue Roll. This is a bit more difficult to do and keep the droning going. Just roll an R like in Spanish with your tongue and do not let the drone stop. Are we having fun yet? If not, do not get stressed and keep at it, you will get it!
The Hornblast or Toot. First warn the neighbors! ;-) Very tightly press your lips together and blow hard (like playing a trumpet) into the didgeridoo. You should get a loud blast out the end. For an advanced technique try switching from droning to a quick hornblast and back to droning in your didgeridoo rhythms.
A Story On How The Didgeridoo Came To Be...
Three men were camped out on a cold night in the outback. One of the men told another to put a log on the fire, because the fire was getting low and it was very cold. So, the other man turned and grabbed a log, which was awfully light to the touch, for it was hollow. As he went to drop it into the fire, he noticed the entire length was covered with termites. He did not know what to do, for he could not throw the branch into the fire, because it would kill the termites, and his friends were telling him to do so because it was so cold. So, he carefully removed all the termites from the outside of the log by scooping them into his hand, and he deposited them inside the hollow branch. Then he raised the branch to his lips and blew the termites into the air. The termites blown into the air became the stars, and the first Didgeridoo was created.
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