The didjeridu is an Australian Aboriginal musical instrument
endemic to the northern parts of Australia. It is an unusual
instrument because a special technique called 'circular breathing'
is used to play the instrument. It may sound impossible, but
in 'circular breathing' air is breathed in through the nose
at the same time as air is being blown out of the mouth to
play the didjeridu. This technique allows a skilled didjeridu
player to maintain a continuous sound on the instrument for
as long as the player wants.
The term didjeridu is onomatopoetic and not of indigenous
origin. That is, didjeridu is a word of Western invention,
first coined in the early part of the 20th century to describe
the sounds made by the instrument. It is also fairly certain
that the earliest usage of the expression applied to instruments
encountered in Western Arnhem Land or in the region to its
immediate south, where repeating rhythms or sound patternings
such as "didjeridu-dideru", "didjemro"
and "didjeramo-rebo" are found. However, today,
the word didjeridu is used much more generally to include
instruments originating from all parts of Aboriginal Australia
as well as a broad spectrum of instruments produced by indigenous
and non-indigenous makers utilising an array of modern materials
Recently, the didjeridu has become very popular worldwide
and is now played by people from all walks of life in Australia
and many overseas countries. A large number of people are
drawn to the didjeridu because of the challenge of playing
it and the unique sound it produces. This challenge has led
many on a life-long journey of discovery including visits
to Arnhem Land in Australia's Northern Territory where the
finest didjeridu players and makers- the Aboriginal people
themselves - live.
The didjeridu has also been embraced by modern society for
a number of other reasons including the relaxing and mildly
euphoric state that playing and listening to the didjeridu
can bring about. It appears likely that the special breathing
technique needed to play the didjeridu as well as the distinct
acoustics of the instrument both have positive effects on
inducing the alpha brain wave patterns that are associated
with deep meditation.