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Images from The Beede Gallery

Didjeridu (Yidaki) Arnhem Land, Northern Territory
Australia, Mid-20th Century

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NMM 3868.  Didjeridu, Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia, mid-20th century.
Back of didjeridu
Right side of didjeridu
Left side of didjeridu

NMM 3868. Didjeridu (yidaki), Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia, mid-20th century. End-blown natural trumpet, traditionally constructed from a eucalyptus branch hollowed out by termites. Painted with diamond and dot patterns. The didjeridu is a sacred Aboriginal instrument. Its traditional function is to accompany the songs inherently belonging to individuals at birth that express a spiritual connection to their land and ancestors. Today, didjeridus are also played solo or used as rhythmic accompaniment in rock and pop bands. Length: 136 cm (53.5"); diameter at playing end: 5 cm (slightly less than. 2"); diameter at lower end: 3 cm (slightly more than 1"). Gift of D. G. Clegg Forgie, Orange, New South Wales, Australia, 1985.

Mouth-blown End of Didjeridu

Interior of didjeridu Interior of didjeridu

The mouth-blown end is traditionally coated with dried beeswax. Sound is produced when a player blows through the tube with buzzed lips, using circular breathing. This results in the simultaneous sounding of a fundamental pitch, or drone, and the first overtone. Many other factors can affect the sound of the drone and overtones, including the shape of the player's layrnx, throat, cheeks, lips, and tongue. Vocalizations made through the instrument are also a traditional aspect of didjeridu performance.

Painting on Didjeridu

Painting on upper section of didjeridu

Upper portion of didjeridu

Painting on middle of didjeridu

Middle of didjeridu

Painting on lower end of didjeridu

Lower end of didjeridu

The use of dots in Northern Australian art begain in the 1970s in order to disguise the content of the Aboriginees' sacred stories.

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