Didgeridoo Characteristics

Didgeridoo Characteristics

Weight

The weight of a didgeridoo is a good way to see if the instrument will resonate well. See more about the effects of weight in wood thickness.


Length

For didgeridoos with a cylindrical shape the longer the didge the lower the key. For conical-shaped didgeridoos this does not apply. The greater the angle in which the didge deviates from its cylindrical straightness, the higher the instrument will go in tone. That’s why high-tone conical didgeridoos can be longer in length and also higher in tone. Read more about this in info on high tone conical didgeridoos.


Mouth

The mouth of a didgeridoo generally causes the fullness of the sound. Basically you can say that wideness of the first 30 cm of the didgeridoo is responsible for the fullness of the sound. With a narrow beginning of the instrument, trumpet tones will be more. When the beginning of the instrument is wider it will cause the instrument to have a more full sound. You could say a warmer sound and overtones come out more clearly. But for more advanced playing techniques a more narrow mouth and column (first 30 cm) are advisable.


Mouth piece

There are mouth pieces made of wax and waxless mouth pieces. Some didgeridoos are small enough to have no wax to shape a mouth piece. Some people prefer no wax. Some people only put wax in the inside of their didge and not on top. You can also enhance the pressure of the didge and make trumpet tones easier by putting wax inside the instrument to make the column thinner. The mouth piece of the instrument is measured from the inside and without the wax.


Bell

The bottom of a didgeridoo is called the bell. But a bell bottom is a didgeridoo with an exaggerated bell. The exaggerated bell of a didgeridoo mainly works as a sound box. The actual didge is also shorter than a didge of the same length but no bell. Big bells often have more an aesthetic appearance. Read more about bells in info on bells / big bells in the webshop.


Wood thickness

Too much wood thickness causes a didgeridoo to become to heavy and can have a negative effect on the resonance and volume of the instrument. Not enough wood thickness can cause a didgeridoo to shake or vibrate too much (like bamboo didgeridoos). For higher keys the wood thickness becomes very important to hold the presure that is blown through the inner column. See more in Shaking / vibrating bell anddidge.


Key

The key of the didgeridoo is the tone of the instument. The keys vary from D to D (D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, B#, C, C#, D) or Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do.

Low keys / tones are A, A#, B, B#, C

Mid tones are C#, D, D#

High tones are E, F, F#, G, G# A, A#.

The last 4 tones are very high for a didgeridoo and not used by the average didge player. Mid tones are easiest for beginners. High tones for fast rhythms and low tones for meditative or relaxed playing.


Trumpet

The trumpet tones in the characteristics field are shown in chronological order when blowing them on the instrument. The trumpet tones are the tones that can be produced by squeezing your lips and blow with extra pressure like you do when blowing a normal trumpet. The more you squeeze and the harder you blow the higher the trumpet tones come out of the didge. Some didgeridoos can produce more than 3 trumpet tones easily. Others, depending on the strength and skills of the player, can produce up to seven trumpet tones. Trumpet tones are often shortly mixed trough a rhythm pattern. Also in traditional east Arnhem land, playing trumpet tones are rapidly mixed through the complex rhythmic patterns. Didgeridoos that produce trumpet tones more easily are advisable for advanced playing, but these didgeridoos might not sound as ‘full’ or ‘harmonious’ for the meditative player or low-key player.

 

See also Didgeridoo Sounds