Please Share Traditional Aboriginal Music Aboriginal people throughout most of Australia believe that in the beginning of time, in the Dreaming, there were no visible landmarks; the world was flat. As time progressed, creatures emerged from the ground and had the power to change at will from their animal to their human form. The kangaroo ancestor may now be described, in songs particularly, as the kangaroo; the form of his life essence is a matter of little consequence.
Idiophones Sticks Each singer holds a pair of wooden sticks, one in each hand, and provides a percussive rhythm. One, long and slightly flattened stick is generally grasped in the middle and held flat.
The other, more rounded and held towards the end, is brought sharply and cleanly on to the first. The paired sticks can vary considerably in shape.
Boomerang clapsticks These provide a similar function as the sticks. At times they may be shaken so as to provide a continuous rattle.
Handclapping Handclapping and slapping various parts of the body are used by singers of both sexes, sometimes as a substitute for a pair of sticks. Set of percussion sticks Sometimes referred to "gongs", the set of three or four variously-lengthed wooden sticks hit with a stick are used only in Yabaduruwa ceremonies.
Percussion tube A percussion tube, the "hollow log drum" is used with the Ubar ceremonies. Other percussie idiophones include a stick beaten on a shield, a stick beaten on another stick lying on the ground, and the women's bark bundle hit on the ground.
Rasp The Kimberley Tabi songs are accompanied by a rasp. A notched stick, or the side of a spear thrower is scraped by a second, smaller stick.
Rattle Island style songs from Cape York are accompanied by bunches of seed pods held in the hand. Membranophone Skin drum A single-headed hour glass shaped drum, whose head is made from lizard or goanna skin, or on at least one occaision the rubber from a tyre inner tube, is heard from Cape York, with both traditional song types and island dance.
The open end is sometimes shaped like the mouth of a crocodile. Aerophones Didjeridu The didjeridu is usually formed when a branch of a tree, naturally hollow, is further hollowed out by nesting termites.
Aboriginal Australians cut these branches to a suitable length approx. Blown with vibrating lips, the didjeridu gives a fundamental note with a rich and complex harmonic series. Constant air pressure is maintained by simultaneously blowing out through the mouth and breathing in through the nose, using the cheeks as a reservoir.
Considerable stamina is required for this technique and a good didjeridu player is considered capable of sustaining fast energetic rhythmic patterns throughout a given song.
A skilled player is highly respected and may travel with a professional songman to enhance trade meetings or other interband meetings.
The function of the didjeridu is to provide a constant drone on a deep note, somewhere between D flat and G below the bass clef.HISTORY OF MUSIC In the next years, up to the start of recorded history, many other musical instruments are developed. Trumpets from natural materials, such as the conch shell or the long hollow bamboo of the Australian didgeridoo, may have been introduced first as speaking tubes - enhancing or disguising the voice of the priest.
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