Tag Archives: didgeridoo

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Our First ABC Performance

Hello Mrs Watson and K/1/2/3,

A favourite instrument... Like so many things in life I have many favourites because I like the sounds. I play a little recorder, flute and piano but not very well so they are amongst my favourites.

At times, I like unusual musical sounds so discovering new instruments means hearing new sounds. From more ancient instruments in Aboriginal culture such as the didgeridoo (another spelling is didjeridu), clapsticks and bullroarer to instruments such as sitars (India), shamisen (Japan), djemba drums (Africa), Taiko drums (Japan), and voices raised in music, I like the sounds. They can be fascinating.

One big activity I have here in Australia is filming school and community performances in order to produce DVDs andsometimes CDs. While I can’t share the images, I can share the sounds from some performances. Here is a little audio from a few of the performances I have put together for you…

African Djemba drums and a cowbell

Djemba drumshave a fantastic sound when played together. You can feel the sound in the room. This is the sound of around 30 drummers from a primary school.

Didgeridoo and clapsticks

Didgeridoos are played by the men in a number of Aboriginal cultures. Women aren't permitted to play one. Clapsticks are two stcks struck together to give the beat. This was a recording of primary school boys and girls performing a traditional dance.

Dingboxes and boomwhackers

I must admit, when I first heard of dingboxes and boomwhackers, I wasn't certain what they were. Did you know? Dingboxes are boxes with a springed lid and a tuned bell inside. Step on the box lid and the bell rings. Boomwhackers are length of tuned plastic tubes you can hit together. The other sound a little like a drum is a person hitting a box with their hand.

Recorder and violin

As I once taught the recorder in class, I like their sound if played well. This is the sound of 31 primary school recorder players with two high school students playing violins over a recorded background.

Loop pedal

This was a new piece of equipment I heard for the first time this year. It was used by a high school student to create an original piece. You will hear her add sound using only her voice. The Loop pedal stores the sound and then repeats it while she adds a new sound. After adding a third sound to make the backing, you hear her sing. I thought it was fascinating to hear one person create such a sound using the loop pedal.

Storm Choir

This is an original piece of music from a performance I was asked to record. A choir of 9 people use their voices to create the sounds of a coming storm. You hear thunder as they stamp their feet and their voices create the sound of rain falling.

Taiko Drums

Taiko drums are traditional in Japan. Played together, I like the sound. You can feel the sound in the room as Taiko drums are played.

I also like the sounds of nature. Listen to the sounds of these birds…

A favourite, the kookaburra…

While hiking recently, I saw one kookaburra fly to a tree where another was perched. I suspected they would start to sing together. The recording is the sound they made. Can you hear why some people think kookaburras are laughing at us?

While hiking, 50 to 100 ravens landed in the trees around me…

It was quie a surprise to see so many ravens in one place so I took out my phone and recorded them. The raven choir sounded incredible.

and a sound recording taking me weeks to get close enough, the lyrebird…

The lyrebird, named for the lyre shape of its tail, is a mimic bird. This recording is of a lyrebird copying the calls of other birds. I have heard of lyrebirds copying the sound of machines and of one, raised from a chick by someone who played the flute, being heard mimicking the sound of flute music. While shy of people in the wild, I have seen them a number of times but find it hard to get close enough to record them singing. On the day of the recording, I was down wind from the bird and could see its lyre tail just above a bush. It didn't see or hear me.

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While sounds can be loud, soft, musical and even horrible, they are part of the world we live in. Whether we hear them or feel them, I love hearing interesting new sounds.

Did I say feel them? Have you felt the vibrations caused by sound? Drum beats, especially large drums, bass guitars, and the delicate vibrations of a soft piano piece when you put your ear against the piano, we can both hear and feel them.

Did you know one of the great composers, Beethoven, became deaf as he grew older? He still composed music but would place his ear against the piano to feel the sounds. He wrote his final and 9th symphony when almost totally deaf.

Did any of you feel the music through the floor as you listened to your ABC performance?