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Didgeridoo

Australian Aboriginal didgeridoo (most likely from the Wik culture group), 1966, Eucalyptus wood, glue, and ochre, gift of Donald and Beverly McGavin, 2009.1.1.

The didgeridoo is a wind instrument made and used by many northern and central Australian cultural groups. It is crafted by using the main trunk of eucalyptus trees that have been hollowed out by termites. The tunnels created by the termites give the didgeridoo its unique “whirling” sound. To play the didgeridoo, the musician must use circular breathing, a technique in which one must blow air out of one’s mouth and breath air in though the nose at the same time. Correct usage of this skill can allow the musician to play a continual note hypothetically forever. The longest ever recorded was for up to fifty minutes. The term didgeridoo is not a native one, and many different culture groups have different names for them. The term may have come from a butchering of the Irish Gaelic term “dúdaire dubh” which could mean any manner of things, from trumpeter to chain-smoker to long-necked person.

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