Our final destination this summer is to Australia, land of kangaroos, koalas and didgeridoos, a musical instrument considered by some to be one of the oldest in the world. A didgeridoo is often carved out of eucalyptus and is a long tube with a mouthpiece that where the player blows air into the tube. There are no holes for changing pitches but skillful players use breathing techniques to produce different tonal colors and even to play two pitches simultaneously using harmonics. Traditionally these instruments were only played by the Aboriginal people who lived in the northern part of Australia, but the didgeridoos have now been incorporated into many musical styles such as rock and roll, county, rap and reggae. In this video you will hear a master player explain how he creates the sounds on this instrument. Like everything else, he says it takes practice!
The next post is of the music of Arthur Benjamin, an Australian composer, pianist and teacher who lived from 1893-1960. I found this Scherzino delightful but you might also want to look for another piece for which he is well-known called the Jamaican Rumba. In the Scherzino, notice the distinctive rhythm of the bass clef part which continues throughout the entire piece except right at the end. Notice the use of chromaticism and the wide range of dynamics. What is the form of this piece? What mood is created and what descriptive title would you give it?