Blowing on the Didgeridoo
Expert and Musician Phillip Jackson Discusses the Instrument that is Taking Over the World of Music
 More of this Feature
• Part 5: The Didgeridoo and the World
  Related Resources
• Didgeridoo
• Australian Music
 Elsewhere on the Web
• (A didgeridoo resource center with lots of music and instructional material)

Paula: How did the didgeridoo get its name?

Phillip: The name "didgeridoo" does not appear in any of the roughly 600 Aboriginal languages and associated dialects. It is thought that it was given what has become it's Euro-Australian name inadvertently by an explorer in the early 1920's in Australia by the name of Herbert Basedow based on the sounds the instrument made as it was played. Traditionally speaking, there are roughly forty Aboriginal groups who use the instrument across the northern regions of Australia (the area where it is traditionally used), and each have an individual name for the instrument. The traditional name you hear most the most frequently these days is Yidaki.

Paula: What are clapsticks, and how are they used?

Phillip: Clapsticks are two sticks of varying lengths and shapes (there is no fixed standard, but bigger means louder) which are used extensively in Aboriginal music around Australia. They are quite literally clapped together to follow and accompany the rhythms created by the singers and/or didgeridoo player. Clapsticks, along with two boomerangs clapped together in a similar fashion, are the most frequently used musical instruments across Australia traditionally speaking.

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