Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Australian Aboriginal Musical Instruments: The Didjeridu, The Bullroarer and the Gumleaf

Neville H. Fletcher
Acoustics Australia


The Australian Aboriginal people developed three instruments:  the didgeridu, the bullroarer, and the gum-leaf.  Most well-known is the didgeridu, a simple wooden tube blown with the lips like a trumpet, which gains its sonic flexibility from controllable resonances of the player's vocal tract.  The bullroarer is a simple wooden slat whirled in a circle on the end of a cord so that it rotates about its axis and produces a pulsating low pitched roar.  The gum-leaf, as the name suggests, is a tree leaf, held against the lips and blown so as to act as a vibrating valve with "blown-open" configuration.  Originally intended to imitate bird calls, the gum leaf can also be used to play tunes.

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