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 Post subject: mago
PostPosted: 03.01.2009, 05:35 
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Joined: 27.12.2008, 10:39
Posts: 5
call me a newbie but i have been making and playing didgeridoos for over 20 years and have never herd of a mago

could someone please fill me in

im also interested in the difference from a yidaki to a didge
I though yidaki was just a different tribes name for what is essentually a didge.

help lol

karl hardy


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 Post subject: Re: mago
PostPosted: 03.01.2009, 09:19 
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Hi Karl,

I do believe my first instrument (circa 1995/6) was one of your bamboo ones!

Mago belong to the Ethnomusicologist Alice Moyle's 'Type A' classification of accompaniment in which the 'toot' or blown overtone is not used in the didjeridu playing styles of the area. This type of instrument is used by the clans of Western and North Central Arnhem Land and affiliated areas west and south-west of Darwin in Australia's Top End. Generally, mago are rich in harmonics, a characteristic that is emphasized in the local playing techniques.

Yidaki on the other hand belong to Moyle's 'Type B' classification of accompaniment in which the 'toot' or blown overtone is utilised in the musical compositions of the area, mainly North Eastern Arnhem Land and Groote Eylandt. Yidaki are typically longer with narrow necks, a characteristic which enables the use of fast tongue inflections and the staccato-like overtones used to great effect in the regional playing styles.

Generally speaking, mago are West Arnhem Land instruments and Yidaki are East Arnhem Land instruments although this is a very broad brushstroke generalization.

Kyle


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 Post subject: This as got me thinking!
PostPosted: 04.01.2009, 00:28 
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Kyle-- I've heard references to Moyle's Type A and B instruments before, but didn't she or some other musicologist also imply that mago followed yidaki in the evolution of didjeridus? I'm only asking this because, well, B usually follows A! I haven't studied up on this too much, mainly due to a lack of reading material, but I've always gotten the impression from musicologists that Yidaki in NEAL are the oldest, in other words FIRST instruments, and that mago in WAL were a later development. Scholars cite as evidence the greater complexity of Yolngu playing and, additionally, there is the Yolngu oral tradition that credits them with creation of the yidaki. From what I've seen, it appears there's not enough evidence yet to pinpoint the origins of the didjeridu. Mago could be equally old, or perhaps older. We know that musicologists haven't based their theories on written records as none existed in that part of the world-- nor have any dijeridus yet been found preserved in archaeological sites...so how have they come to view NEAL as the birthplace of the didjeridu?


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 Post subject: Re: mago
PostPosted: 04.01.2009, 09:02 
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Hi Brian,

The didgeridoo was first encountered by Westerners in Western Arnhem Land. That being said, I believe the 'type a' and 'type b' categorization is quite arbitrary and not symbolic of which came first. Perhaps the mago inherited the 'type a' distinction as Moyle first encountered these on her journey east from Darwin. There is no definitive answer to the questions you pose - I should think that much of what the musicologists have based their assumptions on are the related stories you mention, for if you ask the West Arnhem Landers of their instrument use they will also tell you that it goes far back into the creation period. Interestingly, Djalu Gurruwiwi's Djunggirriny story tells how the original Djunggirriny Yidaki is related to Goulburn Island off the coast of West Arnhem Land! See here more more info: http://www.yirrkala.com/yidaki/dhawu/27 ... rriny.html

I hope this clarifies the issue somewhat, but as I said, I don't feel there are any easily found answers here.

Kyle


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 Post subject: Re: mago
PostPosted: 04.01.2009, 18:35 
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Kyle-- JMHO but actually, both you and I have just summarized everything pretty well...the timing and location of the didjeridus first appearance remains unknown. Rock art may provide some evidence at least as far as the distribution of didj playing is concerned, but dating it is problematic and there could be yet undiscovered art or paintings that have either eroded or been painted over more recently. A didj could be preserved under the right conditions-- a waterlogged or boggy type archaeological site could produce an artifact didj, but those are lottery type odds. I think the strongest evidence that the didj is relatively recent is its rather limited distribution-- I believe this instrument would have spread much further than Arnhemland-- either the instruments themselves or the knowledge of how to locate and cut termite hollowed trees should have spread further through trade networks. Perhaps, and this is getting really speculative, didjeridus did not, or could not have been made until the steel axe arrived when foreign vessels landed on the coast. Perhaps foreigners had a hand in the birth of the didj. Who knows?


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 Post subject: Re: mago
PostPosted: 04.01.2009, 19:48 
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SpookyHollowSticks wrote:
Perhaps, and this is getting really speculative, didjeridus did not, or could not have been made until the steel axe arrived when foreign vessels landed on the coast. Perhaps foreigners had a hand in the birth of the didj. Who knows?


This point was raised by David Turner (author of Afterlife Before Genesis: Accessing the Eternal through Australian Aboriginal Music) when he was speaking with his didgeridoo (yiraga) teacher Gula Lalara. Gula told him that before the hardwood trees were harvested to make instruments the local hibiscus species was cut, split in half, the pithy interior removed and the two halves then rejoined with resin/sugarbag and bound with twine. So it would seem on Groote Eylandt at least that they believe the didgeridoo existed before the influx of metal tools!

Whether or not it truly is an ancient instrument or only a few hundred years old, I'm incredibly thankful for it's creation as this instrument has really changed my life.


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 Post subject: Re: mago
PostPosted: 04.01.2009, 21:13 
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Ditto.


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 Post subject: Re: mago
PostPosted: 04.01.2009, 22:48 
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Ditto for me as well. I just wish it wasn't such an expensive obsession!


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 Post subject: Re: mago
PostPosted: 05.01.2009, 00:29 
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I dont agree with the steel axe comment as i have had to pleasure of making a didgeridoo with a stone axe......The wood chipped away very easy. I have also seen a didge cut down and beeen played within minutes.A couple of taps to get rid of the termite poo and bam we had a very nice C . So im sure if i can do it with no equipment in a couple of mins aboriginal people would have worked out how to do it in 40000 thousand years they had to figure it out before white people invaded...Much of the northern coast line has disapeered in this time aswell due to the rising sea.And along with it many archealogical sites and caves.............So it is and always will be one of the great mysteries of the world...
karl hardy...


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 Post subject: Re: mago
PostPosted: 05.01.2009, 00:54 
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kdidj wrote:
SpookyHollowSticks wrote:
Perhaps, and this is getting really speculative, didjeridus did not, or could not have been made until the steel axe arrived when foreign vessels landed on the coast. Perhaps foreigners had a hand in the birth of the didj. Who knows?


This point was raised by David Turner (author of Afterlife Before Genesis: Accessing the Eternal through Australian Aboriginal Music) when he was speaking with his didgeridoo (yiraga) teacher Gula Lalara. Gula told him that before the hardwood trees were harvested to make instruments the local hibiscus species was cut, split in half, the pithy interior removed and the two halves then rejoined with resin/sugarbag and bound with twine. So it would seem on Groote Eylandt at least that they believe the didgeridoo existed before the influx of metal tools!

Whether or not it truly is an ancient instrument or only a few hundred years old, I'm incredibly thankful for it's creation as this instrument has really changed my life.


Interestingly, Kyle, this is similar to some Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) flute construction of around 13 centuries ago. Box elder was used, because it had the same pithy interior you described above. Branches were bored, or sometimes split, scraped out, rejoined with beeswax and wrapped with sinew. Similarly to the discussions about applying oil to the inside of a didge, resin was sometimes applied to the flute's interior near the blowing end (where it would get the most wet), presumably to reduce cracking.

These flutes, btw, aren't the ones you typically see with the block & fipple, but rather end-blown. Except for the holes, they're remarkably didge-shaped, albeit smaller in length and diameter. I've made one of my own; covering all the holes and playing it like a didge instead of a flute actually works in principle (although it sounds absolutely terrible).

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 Post subject: Re: mago
PostPosted: 05.01.2009, 04:19 
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khardy wrote:
I dont agree with the steel axe comment as i have had to pleasure of making a didgeridoo with a stone axe......The wood chipped away very easy. I have also seen a didge cut down and beeen played within minutes.A couple of taps to get rid of the termite poo and bam we had a very nice C . So im sure if i can do it with no equipment in a couple of mins aboriginal people would have worked out how to do it in 40000 thousand years they had to figure it out before white people invaded...Much of the northern coast line has disapeered in this time aswell due to the rising sea. And along with it many archealogical sites and caves.............So it is and always will be one of the great mysteries of the world...
karl hardy...


It doesn't work that way, though. You can't make inferences about past behaviors based on those of the present. This is especially true of the Australian Aboriginal-- there are many things they now do which they could have done thousands of years ago, like agriculture and the domestication of animals...but they didn't. They could have smelted metals as they have an abundance of the raw materials locally...but they didn't. Their food gathering lifestyle did not lead them into these activities, and likewise, the possession of stone axes doesn't necessarily mean they used them to go around felling trees. Perhaps these stone axes were used to plane rather than to chop.

Oh yeah, and white people weren't the first foreigners to land on the Arnhemland coast-- there were the Macassans who came a few hundred years earlier and had trade and other significant cultural exchanges with Aboriginals living along the northeast coast.


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