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Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Tuning a Didge

Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 in Articles, Info & Education
“Tuning a Didge”
ellswood by the fire

ellswood by the fire

 

 

We often get asked here at Didgeridoo Breath – “Lads… what do you mean the didge has a key??” So let’s break it down once and for all now…

 

Key, in musical terms, is another way to describe a note. It could be the Key Signature of a written piece of music – a particular note that becomes the basis from which other notes progress in relation to, and usually come back to. You may have heard a jazz band calling out amongst themselves which “key” they will play the song in this time. They are speaking about a foundation key, also called “the tonic”.

 

In the Didge World, we are dealing with drone instruments that (with the exception of sliding multi-key didgeridoos) by and large have one note/pitch at which they drone…. this note is the key of the didgeridoo!

 

We would love to say that there was an easy formula to guarantee the note of a didgeridoo, but due to a variety of organic factors it can be tricky to pick just by looking at the instrument. For example, if all didgeridoos were made out of uniform PVC tubing, the same width and thickness all the way through, we could easily say that the longer the didgeridoo – the deeper the note. However, an authentic didgeridoo is a Eucalyptus tree hollowed out by termites as it grows over numerous years in the various climates and regions of the continent of Australia.  It could be a Bloodwood tree from the tropics of the Cape, or a Mallee from the rainforests of Queensland.  It could be a Salmongum from the dry wheatbelts of Western Australia or a Stringybark from Arnhemland.  Each of these growing conditions will have an effect on the consistency  & density of the instrument wood. This has much to do with affecting the “timbre” of the overall sound as well as the final key.

 

Still, shape is by far the swaying factor when it comes to the key of a particular didge. Here at Didgeridoo Breath we have didgeridoos as small as they come (just under 1 metre) that may be in the key of F#, for example. We also have huge and heavy didges on the professional wall that may be 1.4 metres long and ALSO in the key of F#.  Although the reasoning behind this is still a bit of a mystery to us (and we like it that way!), we can say however that a large F# will always overpower a small F# when it comes to volume, clarity, and general vibrational juiciness. Let this be a Rule of Thumb for you should you come across a decision between two same-key didgeridoos of different shapes. It is within the first 1/3rd or so of the length of the didgeridoo that the majority of the Key is determined. The remaining portion and shape being the resonator for that note. This is handy information for anyone out there interested in making his or her own didgeridoo. Cut a slice of wood off the top of a didge and witness the key change reasonably dramatically, yet cut the same size piece off from the base of a didge and the key change will be minimal.

 

A didgeridoo maker, once they have cut their tree using ethical & sustainable practices will go about their drying process for the wood. This may take anywhere from a few days to a few years, and can be approached from many angles. Some traditional methods include burying the didgeridoo tree in earth & lighting a fire above, placing it in a flowing river to wash out tannins, soaking it in the salt water of the sea, or air drying over time. For a long-lasting & high quality didgeridoo, we suggest that the longer/slower the drying process – the better and more reliably durable the wood will be.

 

Once dry, further woodwork is done including thinning the walls and widening the interior of the bell beyond the termite tunnel to improve resonance. Thinning back the walls of the instrument will raise the key slightly, or rather; prevent a “muddy” sound.

 

Some didgeridoo makers, once satisfied with their woodwork, will leave the didgeridoo length as is, and let the didge simply speak for itself. Others will “Tune their Didge” as this stage by cutting slices from the mouthpiece to raise the key to an appropriate note. It is important to check closely at this stage because you cannot UNCUT a piece of your didge of course!

 

Assuming the wood is well dried and sealed, the didge length is set, and a mouthpiece is affixed – the boys at Didgeridoo Breath would consider the key SET. You may notice that some didgeridoos on our website will show the Key of the instrument and some numbers next to the Key. For example: D (444Hz), or F (440Hz). This is to say that when we have put our frequency tuner near the didge to measure the key, we have either set it to Common Tuning (A=440Hz), or a more traditional tuning method such as the old Solfeggio (more on that in a later post ya’ll!). Certain climatic extremes may effect the Key of your didgeridoo in the way that they effect the conditions of wood in general. If you own a didgeridoo and are playing in the heat or frost – keep it in your insulated Oilskin bag as much as possible to avoid the wood shrinking/expanding.

 

Before too long, you will be able to develop an ear for the key of a didgeridoo and know what is what. Beyond this you may find that you also develop a greater understanding of which key will work for you or a particular mood at any one time. Everything has a resonant frequency (a frequency at which a substance begins to resonate and come “alive with energy”). Certain keys resonate in our bodies in different parts, and correspond to the major chakras and their match in the colour spectrum in terms of frequency.

 

If you have any interest in these subjects – feel free to write to us and get a dialogue going, or create a post in the www.didgehq.com forums. We are all enjoying working towards a greater understanding of our art and how vibrations effect the nature of all things.

 

– Benni Böötz

Sanshi’s Japan Tour with Breath!

Posted: Friday, December 6, 2013 in Articles

The Breath Trio toured through Japan from south to north just like a typhoon! If you don’t know about Breath, check us out here… www.breathtrio.com

Breath Trio Japan Tour

Kumamoto in Kyusyu

First we gathered in Kumamoto in Kyusyu, collaborating with lots of traditional Japanese musicians, including 21 string Koto (Japanese Harp) player Izumi Fujikawa and Melbourne’s Wadaiko (Japanese Drums) team Rindo. Where we were invited for the Kumamoto Australia week event!

We played the old Kumamoto Castle which has “Crow Castle” as its nickname! We saw a few Samurai-costumed staff there making the atmosphere. We then performed on the Honmaru goten stage twice: once for the moon viewing party night under the September full moon, and the next day with wadaiko groups. Wadaiko is an ensemble of different sized drums creating big beats! I have always dreamed of playing Didge with Wadaiko! Exciting rhythms and power!!!

Anne Norman (Breath’s Shakuhachi player) had her tea show at Sojo University gallery and Reo Matsumoto (Breath’s Beatboxer) and I joined her show! At the end of Kumamoto visit we played at Shintoshin Plaza in front of the Kumamoto Station, where there was a music hall with proper lighting and sound systems. I had wireless microphones on each of my Didgeridoos! I played several times at the concert, huge response and cheers were given…. and that was the start of our journey in Japan!

While we were in Kumamoto, we hung out as Breath and practiced, instead of sight seeing. We would love to come back and discover the Mt. Aso area where you can see the active volcano! Fire!

On to Hiroshima…

Next stage was Hiroshima, we had a concert with Hiroshima’s Shyakuhachi club and players (Japanese bamboo flute) at Aster Plaza, located near Hiroshima Peace Park. I had a morning walk to the peace park to see the atomic bomb memorial place. I saw lots of Origami cranes sent from all over the world wishing for peace. There stood the Genbaku Dome: the only building that survived the bomb within a kilometer from the ground zero. I also, prayed for world peace.

The concert started with us sourcing the sound-gear ourselves. We searched and found a local sound gear company just near by called literally, “sound company”. The helpful owner Murakami-san rented us a PA system and microphones. We met Anne’s old friends in Hiroshima, had a great concert there and an after party too. The next day we squeezed a visit to a sacred shrine called Itsukushima shirine where the goddess Benzaiten is worshiped. She is a goddess of art, so we prayed our journey to be safe and successful: thanks to Tsuku chan who guided us get to there!

Back to my hometown Kagawa

We drove off to my hometown Kagawa via Seto Ohashi Bridge across the Seto inland sea! You will see many islands one after another. When it’s sunset time, the islands will be surrounded by shiny golden sea…. one of my favorite views in this world!
Later we arrived at a Portuguese Restaurant called Mu near Marugame city then met the owner Mushimoto-san who draw the art inside and re-bumped the building with wild taste. His food is absolutely yummy! Both seafood and landfood. We also met Japanese calligraphy artist Mr. Higasa, who took his biggest brush and drew a character “謝” which means “Thank” or “Sorry” which is very interesting both meaning in one character. As you can see this character has three sections that also tied in with the Breath trio! Very thoughtful idea! He finished with a funny caricature of us. The audience was mostly my family and their friends, so I was little nervous to play in front of them, its funny that I don’t get this usually.

We visited my old high school for the special lecturer talking about our life style overseas, the taste of being musicians and living with our passion. We did a mini concert and collaborated with a Japanese Koto ensemble. We received letters from every student in that class later on, and they told us how they were encouraged and inspired with our visit. Thanks to Yoko Kondo who organized this opportunity!

There are more stories to told…
To be continued

Sanshi

William Barton visited Didgeridoo Breath

Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012 in Articles, Didgeridoo Players, New Products, Videos

William slipped into old Fremantle town to play a couple of private concerts last week. He was without a didge and so he borrowed an ellswood didgeridoo for the shows. He even gave us a little video of his playing style, super strong and fast!!! We also had a good chat about some of his new music and a CD coming out soon and the possibility of a show/workshop early next year!! 🙂 We will let you all know closer to the date if we can sort this out, fingers crossed for that one!!. So here is the video and a link to Williams website. Enjoy and happy didgin’

www.williambarton.com.au

T-Shirt Photo Competition!! Win this Earl Clements Didgeridoo!!

Posted: Tuesday, August 2, 2011 in Articles, News, Videos


HOW TO WIN

1.     If you haven’t already, click here to grab yourself a Didgeridoo Breath T-Shirt
(Free worldwide shipping during this competition)

2.     Take a photo of yourself or friend wearing the shirt in an iconic or special place

3.     Email your photo to us at [email protected]

4.     We will upload your photo to our Facebook “Photo Competition” gallery

5.     The photo that gets the most Facebook “likes” by 30th September 2011 wins (so tell your friends!)

What are you waiting for, click here to grab your Didge Breath T-Shirt, get the camera out and start clicking!

We will upload your photo as soon as we receive it so the sooner the better.

The winner will receive a brand new Earl Clements Didgeridoo!!

Go, Go, Go… and good luck!

Conditions: no offensive material, nudity or sexual content

New Jon Worsley Hemp Didgeridoo videos.

Posted: Thursday, April 14, 2011 in Articles, New Products

If you are looking for a didgeridoo that is very easy to play, incredibly loud, ultra responsive, super strong, lightweight & great for traveling with and takes your didgeridoo playing to a new level, you are in the right place! Here is some videos of  Simon demonstrating these amazing Didgeridoos..

Click here to see our full range of Hemp Didgeridoos

Click here to see our full range of Hemp Didgeridoos

Recording didgeridoo – what microphone is best to use?

Posted: Monday, September 13, 2010 in Articles, Info & Education

recording-didgeridooWe recently asked our customers… what’s your favorite mic to record didgeridoo with?

Here are their answers.

Feel free to add your comments, we would all love to learn from your experience. Read the rest of this entry »

Didgeridoo Lessons, Classes, Workshops – Learn How To Play

Posted: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 in Articles, News

Welcome to Australia’s largest didgeridoo school! Right here you will find, learn to play the didgeridoo courses, one-on-one lessons, group bookings, performances and more.

Learn to play the didgeridoo

Read about the extensive range of didgeridoo courses and lessons below.
Read the rest of this entry »

How to take care of your didgeridoo

Posted: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 in Articles, News

Fortunately the didgeridoo is one musical instrument that requires very little maintenance. Having said this, there are a couple of important things that you need to be aware of to keep your beloved didgeridoo in its current condition. Read the rest of this entry »

How to get a good didgeridoo sound?

Posted: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 in Articles, News

(Question)

Hey Didge Breath

I was wondering what is the best platform to play on? I know hard surfaces are the best to project the sound. Is there anything in particular that can be used so you can really hear the didge. The rug in my room really dulls things down haha.

Mike

(Answer)

Mike, you have to lose the rug!

Rugs, carpets, sand, grass and air all steal you Didgeridoo sound, you may as well be playing into a pillow or underwater! Read the rest of this entry »

Australian Aboriginal Art, Facts, History & Information

Posted: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 in Articles, Info & Education

Australian Aboriginal Art PaintingsIndigenous Australian art today is recognized throughout Australia and the world for its strength and vitality. Australian Aboriginal Art has come from traditions that emphasizes the continuous links between Indigenous art, place and “The Dreaming” – the central core of Indigenous Law and religion.

ACRYLIC PAINTINGS

Acrylic paintings are a relatively new form incorporating the classic elements of Aboriginal Life. They represent a person’s relationship to those around them, to the land and to the Dreaming. They also represent a new context of interaction between indigenous and western societies. Through modern art the Aboriginal people introduce and express their culture to the world.

CONTEMPORARY ART

Acrylic paintings by Central Australian Aboriginal people is one of the most exciting developments in modern Australian Art. Read the rest of this entry »