Didgeridoos made by players for
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Enter here what you like to learn about and we'll answer your questions on this page. Answers are generally on this page within a week .
Ok so if your getting the farting sound, experiment with the contrast of tight and loose lips. Even overtighten further as you blow out, you will notice the trumpet like overtone sound that the didg is capable of . This sound is used as a percussive sound with the drone as the background sound. Then overloosen your lips letting the air be expelled quicker through your lips The drone is the important one that is first base, so , keep at it ,- take a breath in, blow out, sealing the mouthpiece end with your mouth inside, letting the lips loose so they start bouncing up and down against one another giving of the drone sound. Trying can be a hurdle as one can overcompensate with tight lips, so keep coming back to loose lips and not trying to contain or focus the air being expelled, even if the air is released very quick. It s the combination of the lips being together yet loose that leads to the bouncing as the air is released , a vibrating drone. Once you've got the drone sound you will then be able to start varying the lip tightness and experimenting with sound variances without loosing the drone note.
As your starting out with didg, enjoy and
embrace the unknown element of learning to play. Each didg and each person is individual
and theres no right or wrong way to play or to learn as to steps or timing. In this
way didg is an explorative instrument that some folk even liken to a friend . if you
enjoy the lement of playing a natural instrument and relate to its
connection to earth and spirit ,it can be a sacred journey. At the same time
Also in regard to the tight
lipped drone, by moving your tongue close to your lips and almost in between as they
vibrate often creates the much sort after, defined drone sound ( some
call this a reed note with the tongue between the lips). Then
varying from loose to tight as you circular breath creates one of the simplest
continuously for several minutes sometimes I find
The simplest way though is to let the river run rather than damming it up; in otherwords gradually or here and there spit it throught the doning. We do this to a degree anyway but sometimes if excess is building its either store it or let some flow. Theres a knack to minimising any gliches in the sound train as your doing so. When I do this I generally have an alteration somewhat in the sound but at least the drone keeps going and I dont have a resevoir in my mouth.
And as to circular swallowing let me
know if you perfect, it must be an enlightened didg players trick, for us mortals
circular dribbling is the go. I hope this helps Dave, happy didgin bro,
5) Overtones on the didg How do you make that toot
note or overtone , Damian
Rhythms on the didg are created by a combination of breath timing, and sound or mouthing repitition. For example if the timing of the outbreath equals the timing of the inbreath ( inbreath covering the full squeeze cheek motion of the inbreath phase-not the actual snatch timing), then you have a rhythm. If the outbreath is twice the inbreath phase this is another rhythm. If theres two in breaths for every outbreath phase you have another rhythm. If you have two in for an equal timed out followed by one in for equal timed out and then the whole two parts repeat over and over , you have a more complicated rhythm. And it goes on and on, the possibiities are pretty endless. Then interspersing vocal sounds in a timed pattern the rhythm is accentuated. or certain wordings or mouthed phrasings can be used whether didgeridoo, didamore, didamulla, thuka too, ditty roo, walk a doo, kirrawee, lilli pilli- make up your own.
With rhythms simplicity is helpfull and repitition is the foundation. Even the simplest rhythms played over and over becomes enchanting when one relaxs into it. Those listeneing will often get more out of this than a complex but formless playing style. Trying to incorporate too much can be a failing. I know of one class didg player that stuck to one rhythm and played it over and over and explored every way that one rhythm could be strenghtened. He is renowned for his rhythmic playing style.
© 2000 Heartland Didgeridoos
Jawbreathing is a more advanced style of circular breathing where you dont rely on the cheeks, as in puffing up and then flattening as you snatch a breath. It is done with the cheeks totally flat at all times, also making the stream of air very focused , and punchy.It then relys more on diaphramatic breathing because theres less time to get the breath in and it relys on more controlled use of muscles in the mouth and jaw movement , with the diaphragm backing up with the strong snatch and keeping the pressure up.
It suits a more rhythmic playing style with a lot of punchiness which comes from the diaphragm and snatch pulse that forms a very strong beat. Oscillating between jawbreathing and cheek breathing in a rhythmic way can also be an effective way to build a rhythym form that has contrasting effects.
© 2000 Heartland Didgeridoos
Circular breathing is the simple and yes beleive it simple act of storing excess air in your cheek/mouth cavity and when grabbing a quick snatch of air with your nose,using your cheeks and jaw to squeeze enough airpressure through your lips that the vibrating lips continue doing their thing long enough to get that bit of air.
I say simple because the first thing that will trip you up learning is thinking its hard. Break it down into its simple componants. And practice simple steps that lead you towards it. And believe, that its simple and that your going to get it . Persist, focus, enjoy, let go and trust. It will come.
To know that you've got what it takes, blow a balloon . Feel those cheek muscles, thats what your developing. Then fill the mouth with water in the shower in the mornings and spit out at the same time as you snatch a breath. If you can do that you'll know you can do it. The rest is practice.
Next look in the mirror while you play and see if you can do a drone and pump your cheeks in and out, in and out, over and over until your out of breath. Have you control over what your cheeks do. Do they add pressure to the air stream as they flatten. Your aiming to be able to do it quick or slow when and exactly as you want, both cheeks in unison and always adding pressure to the airstream as they flaten. -to the point you can almost make a whacking sound as they flaten.
Next try the quick snatch. Drone until a point , very quick snatch of air through the nose and dont worry if the drone stops, just get back into the drone, and do this over and over until you hone that gap until its so minimal and your very quick at snatching.
Next we integrate the two above steps. This time no in and out with the cheeks unless snatching a breath. So drone with cheeks fully puffed out, and pick a moment when your going to start flattening cheeks and adding pressure to the airstream. At that split second snatch a breath, and if theres a gap dont worry jump back into droning. Its essential your snatching at the moment the cheeks begin flattening. With practice your timing will get better and the gap will start to be less noticeable.
This is the place though where many folk trip them selves up. And thats by focusing on the gap and thinking they're not doing it right. A big gap at first, then a smaller gap , then a hardly noticeable gap, then only differences in the sound that swirl in a circular motion . At each point I've seen folk get hung up on where they are on that natural path to circular breathing. Getting hung up makes it worse. Trust the path, it may be annoying at times and leaves one wondering -"Am I doing it right" But each step- it too shall pass.
Keep dancing between persistance ,focus and letting go and trusting. That gap will get smaller and the circular element will get stronger. Always go back to the mirror if stuck and check your timing and how much strength there is in the cheek movement.
If you have good cheek movement and your timing is Ok and your still having trouble getting it also try this. Have your cheeks fully pufffed and instead of big flatening movements, go for the quick snatch with little subtle cheek flattening , aiming to keep, the pressure up to the cheeks as if your blowing a balloon.
Most of all enjoy the process and know you'll get it. Either make it a dailly ritual, or as an extreme give yourself a concentrated period of focus in a day,or over some days,or weeks. I've seen many folk get it in a day or days ,lots within weeks and heaps within 3 months.
If you want it to get it, you will ,knowing
this is as important as the knowing the steps and the how tos.
© 2000 Heartland Didgeridoos
9) I know how to Circular breath, but it seems that even when I circular breathe I still need to stop to breath. Is this usual? Is there a way to fill my lungs more or should I just breathe more often. I probably breath once every 5-10 seconds., Jasen
Most folk in the early stages of circular breathing tend to predominantly have a slower style of playing that ties in with taking breaths every now and again. Yes, theres more pressure on the snatchs and more chance of running out of air. Breathing more regualrly should make a big difference, whilst its a good challenge to also work towards integrating fast and slow styles of breathing and playing. The early on phase in our playing often highlighted by slower stretched out drones and playing style is a fantatic stage except we often want its to pass thinking it doesn't sound that good and yes our circular may be a struggle.
The more our playing develops the more you may find that regular snatchs of breath becomes more the done thing , enforcing a more rhythmic style of playing. Even if a long stretch of outbreath playing might be then contrasted with some short in and outs to refill the lungs, and then repeating this pattern of long out breath with perhaps 2,3 or 4 quicker in an out breaths, over and over. When we only take breaths further apart, interestingly theres more chance of the remaining air in our lungs becoming stale. Complete exchange of air is as important as taking in air.
Releasing air throught the nose as well as droning on is a common practice in didg playing to release stale air . So this could be one reason your running out of air. If you can't work out how to do this , dont worry, you might even be doing it and not realising ; or it will naturally come. One day I realised I'd been doing it for awhile without knowing so.
Interestingly I find that it eventually becomes easy to rely on short quicker breaths and then get lazy with the style of breathing that your doing ,slow and spaced out, so honour where you coming from and with these suggestions a new phase will open the way. Just dont throw out how you play now this will serve you well as well.
Accepting our playing and becoming more expressive.
True for life and
surely didg playing for, when do we arrive????
Blessing our playing as it is!
Have you ever been playing and noticed yourself overly concerned by how it sounds to someone else?
Ahh the critic again! Afriend and a foe!
I imagine our aura shrinks in and we open overly to others energy fields and any that match our feeling of being judged or not good enough.
I've found an
expanding process whilst playing is helpfull,and it begins by showering acceptance on
myself as I play ,then giving myself permission to totally let loose and feeling my aura
expand with the sound untill I'm lost in the expression.
Each of us has a
different access to sound based upon the pitch and range of our voice so
ultimately we will each have our individual flare as to vocal sounds, whilst I
believe each of has an ability to produce loud and effective vocals.
Its our inhibitions that are most often our obstacle. Appreciate their gift , challenge their limits and step by step you'll see big improvments. Gentle calls project part way down the didg and give a far of sound feel, whilst if you want a loud sound or cry , project it down the didg, intend it to go out the other end not half way. Mean it all the way. High tones or really low tones may take some experimentation but play along and they'll come.
Most of all have fun
exploring vocal sounds , the more one explores the more one plays the
more it becomes second nature. And watch for the judge within , give him a day of, have a
laugh and play on.
It is traditional practice
culturally in Australia for water to be poured down the didg before playing. Its
primary purpose is to help the sound travel along the glisteny surface created by
the water. There is a noticeable difference in sound improvement. Also time on the didg
warming it up, adds to the improvement in sound transference.The water also cleanses
the didg and moistens the wood perhaps increasing its longevity. Some didgs are
sealed on the inside with varnish or beeswax to create this effect on a permanant basis.
If so Its still recommended to flush with water at least, to cleanse the didg of
spit, dust and insects who love to move in.
© 2000 Heartland Didgeridoos
Top question. What a challenge to answer it. here we go!
I know two Dr Didgs, one a mate who is an actual doctor didg player healer. I'll ask him as well.
I am into didg healing work, so I'll dub myself Dr Didg No 3 and answer your question.
From experience most physiological effects are on the plus side, calming effects from breath control, internal organ massage from diaphragm action, sound vibration healing effects, mental switch off from the positive focus of a rhythmic healing vibratory kind.
But heres the short list on the down sides.
Most are excistant with experienced players more so than for players in the earlier or more recreational styles of playing.
* Lip problems
- e.g- breaking a
bloodvessel . Cause ~ inadequate warm up. Going from slow droning to fast high
pressure tight lip droning, way too quick with inadquate build up. Cure
~ Rest and more warm up time . It should heal fine. I've had this and
changing mouthpiece positioning from one side to playing in the middle or the other
side is one way to speed healing.
*Didg players sholder
- Holding a didg in one arm and playing every day for quite long periods can produce tighness and muscle and tendon fatigue . I was talking to Dr Didg a couple of months back and two didg mates I knew where visiting him with didg players sholder. Cure ~ get a massage or visit a physio, and change or alternate which arm holds the didg; and buy or make a didg stand to support your didg while you play ( check www.heartdidg/didgstands.htm ) This releases the weight and tension of holding and maximises the healing effects of playing perhaps many fold.
* Hyperventilating and Up- tempo playing stress
Hyperventilation is common in learning circular and is either discomforting or a nice high or spin out. its simply resulting from not getting enough oxygen in and too much blowing out so remember to take time to breath and keep grounded.
Up tempo playing stress, is similar , it comes from excessive fast, rhythmic playing where short sharp quick breaths are taken regularly. There can be a tendency to fall into lazyness with first not getting enough air in and so experiencing mild hyperventialtion, but also prolonging this style of playing is very up and is of high energy on a nervous system level and if not balanced it may be experienced as mildly stressfull. It also can be addictive, so if one finds themselves only playing fast styles with resistance to integrating slower styles you may have the symptoms of 'fast playing addiction' lets call it. Integrating fast and slow is very wholistic and both have their place and positive effect whilst with any polarity there is either a potential missed or a down side that may eventuate from over emphasising.*
*Voice and throat concerns
Voice-Like with singing our voice can do well to be warmed up, so when doing calls and shrill sounds which are more radical on our voice than tones and droning like voice sounds, take time to warm the voice up and stretch gradually until settled and ready to go for it.
Thoat- The other factor is if your didg has been sitting idle it may have quite a dust build up inside and also may be moldy if in a damp environment. Your didg becomes an extension of your throat chamber and any dust etc in the didg will circulate into your lungs. Ask any didg maker who often picks up a didg after sanding or making and forgets to blow through it first. So rinsing ones didg before and or after playing is a good habit if your concerned by this or notice a dryness in your throat from didg playing. Didg playing does use a lot of saliva so dry throat is not only from dusty didgs more so from playing a heap and maybe not drinking enough fluid in general, but a dusty didg doesn't help much.
* Playing other peoples didgs-
In this day and age one may take two approaches. One to trust explicitly and beleive one has no thing to fear and will not contract anything from another persons didg. One part of me relates to this. Anthiam and I havn't immunised our children, out of our trust and also our healthy diet and lifestyle, we trust in our bodies immunity, so I have one foot on that side of the fence. On the other side from years of selling didg to folk; and festivals where I and others would play didgs over and over, it is my experience that my body had to work overtime in fighting stuff I took on and I'd often come home with a cold. Was it the environment of a festival, talking and giving too much, or sharing too many didgs. Well I reckon a combination. These days I still live with a foot on either side, trusting my immunity and also I dont make a habit of playing didgs that other have played ,unless I at least check theres no saliva and wipe it clean . Ideally I wash didgs with a Teatree or Eucalyptus oil water mix which is a natural disenfectant. I'm not real good with follow through except with water and a rag but periodically adding something and doing so and rinsing the inside as well is a good disenfectant process. Taking ones didg to the beach and dipping in salt water is also a good cleansing .
Some folk have a didg thats only for them and another didg there more open to sharing. Something to journey with!
I'd love to hear of any other factors or experiences others have had, and I'll add more to this over time.
But seriosusly didg playing is so damn good for us, you should see the length of the plus's I'm gathering as part of a didg book to come. Makes the above down sides a speck.
So didg on in bliss of the pitfalls mostly ; just be in balance and in your centre and this will draw you on as is perfect for you.
The strength of ones circular breathing plays a big part. As long as you can easily circular breath as long as your lips can keep it up, then you can be assured you've got what it takes to produce good vocal sounds. Producing vocal sounds does take added energy and thus air so there can be some practice particularly with the louder sharper calls. As long as your not about out of air though, an average resevoir of air is fine to even produce the loudest vocals, but one gets used to perhaps taking in an extra snatch of air, or each rhythmic breath a deeper snatch.
Vocal sounds/Animal sounds are simply utilizing the range of sounds we use in speach and expression. Being game in experimenting is the first helpful hint in widening your range. Try a sound outside of the didg, then in it. Letters, syllables, words, rolls of the tongue or punctuations whilst making sounds. Being intentful not shy about making the sound is next step. Take the old bit of advice fake it until you make it with vocals. In otherwords, assume it sounds awesome for the listener for remember the listener is down the other end and they hear it better, so go for it.
And if you reckon the other player sounds better, remember , they probably think the same of your sounds and if your newer don't be frustrated if you can't make a sound they do for you'll come up with sounds later they can't or that they make differently. We all have a different voice tone, mouth cavity and we're all different. Find your own path with vocal sounds is the best help I can offer.
As with animal sounds particularly, listen to the sounds of animals and nature and imitate with the didg. This is how the Kookaburra, dingo, owl, and kangaroo sounds came to be. Sing your own song in celebration of nature.
Whenever having a didg blast, play for some time on one rhythm and hold it a lower speed for some time and then at a higher speed for as long as you can until the cheeks and jaw really feel it, then back to a lower speed again for some time. Hold the rhythm and trance out. Its good practice, for it also disciplines us away from rambling if this is a bad habit.
You can also use a technique that some advanced players use, to fast track their cheek, jaw strength. But beware, do so with caution, you can strain your muscles easily. No jokes. Get a Balloon, blow it only the tiniest bit so it actually has air in it and pressure but not at that point its really starting to fill up. Then do either, cheek in and out, over and over again pressuring against the balloon, or cheeks flat and jaw up and down also pushing against the balloon, or tongue punctuations or wording patterns against the pressure. Only do the smallest amount at first and then build up a bit each day over time.
simplicity is helpfull and repitition is the foundation. Even the simplest
rhythms played over and over becomes enchanting when one relaxs into it. Those
listening will often get more out of this than a complex but formless playing
style. Trying to incorporate too much can be a failing. I know of one class
didg player that stuck to one rhythm and played it over and over and
explored every way that one rhythm could be strenghtened. He is renowned
for his rhythmic playing style.
Have a didg note book or mental notebook, and by yourself or with your didg friends, create your own didg language. Thatís how it works in traditional didg playing areas. Its no different than Tablo players who sing their drumming as well as play it. Use letters and syllables and a notation to remind yourself of the wording and either the breathing pattern in general or specifically where you breath in the rhythm pattern.