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 Post subject: Droning Misconceptions or Doing it Wrong?
PostPosted: 19.06.2014, 19:53 
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Joined: 17.06.2014, 22:05
Posts: 2
Hey guys,

I'm glad I finally found this forum! I've been watching didge videos for a long time now, obsessed with the technique and the various sounds that can come from this instrument, so I finally decided to order myself one. I really have no prior experience with a wind instrument, so I'm learning from scratch with anything that I can find online when I have a chance to use the Internet.

So, everything I ever see mentions the drone we're all familiar with, how to keep your lips relaxed and so forth; I'm not coming from a background where I have previously established habits, so I don't think that the physical movement of my lips in this fashion has been a problem for me. The issue I have is how my lips form once they're actually in contact with the didge. I've tried holding it away a little bit, which creates no sound at all, and even the slightest touch makes it physically impossible, as far as I've tried to practice, to replicate that exact flapping motion in a drone as demonstrated in multiple videos and written explanations. Trying to fold my lips into the didge, at least to maybe give them some more space, yields no results either.

Before I go any further, here's my exact didge:
http://www.x8drums.com/Teak-Wood-Didger ... k-x8bl.htm

My drone sounds nothing like his when he's actually doing a straight drone (in the video further down that page). When I do it, mine just sounds like a muted horn. Sometimes I can hear a steady distortion in the sound, which I'm unsure is coming from my lips or my breathing as often as it happens, but it sounds more like something physically hitting against my didge in its distortion than the beginnings of a proper drone. I've been scrolling through everything I can possibly find to discover the issue I'm having, but all these mentioned droning techniques seem to say the same thing: relax your lips, don't think too hard, don't use too much air (which I know comes with time), and... well, you all know. So my basic questions are these:

1. Are all drone demonstrations without the didge (someone showing their lips flapping) actually different than the way it would look inside of the didge? When I place the didge to my mouth, the instant contact throws off my lips and the motion I was using to make them flap outside of the didge only makes them do some sort of muted motion instead. I can't possibly replicate this motion inside of the allotted space of my didge, so it feels as if the demonstrations are saying to exaggerate it in order to make the technique easier for former wind instrumentalists, but it's throwing me off in thinking that I can somehow possibly replicate that exact look and motion with the tiny enclosure held over my mouth. One might say to buy a didge with a larger mouthpiece, but I've also heard that smaller mouthpieces are easier for beginners and I've also seen this didge demonstrated in the link above (scroll down to see a video); I don't think it's a problem with the make of the didge. I've also tried just using the side of my mouth as some have suggested, but I feel it becomes even harder to make my lips flap.

2. Are there any "added sounds" in performing the basic drone? All demonstrations show the lip motion, then they pull the didge closer and create a simply booming sound. I feel like with the technique I've been practicing (if I'm even remotely doing it right), the only way I can produce any kind of sound at all is if I try to drone and then add a slight blowing motion from my throat, which I can do outside of the didge almost as naturally as it sounds through the didge (in other words, a fake drone where I'm just making funny noises pass through my lips). Otherwise, it comes back to my first problem where my lips can't form the same way inside of the didge as outside. To make the question simpler, is the lip motion the only thing that creates the basic drone, with no other added wind?

I've wracked my brain for weeks trying to determine how I can make my lips perform inside the didge the same way as the demonstrations show. It's the most basic step for playing the didge, so I don't think all demonstrations would leave out information, but none of them seem to quite guide me in the right direction for my specific problems.

Anyway, I appreciate any help y'all can provide! I'm glad to be a part of the community, and hopefully once I figure this out I can start the next big steps and be on my way to making some rhythms.


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 Post subject: Re: Droning Misconceptions or Doing it Wrong?
PostPosted: 20.06.2014, 08:03 
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Joined: 20.03.2006, 10:41
Posts: 1503
Location: UK
Hi Kevingway,

Welcome to the forum!

I've got to get to work so I'll address a few issues quickly for you with the intent of discussing this further in due course. As you appear to be having trouble establishing the drone, I would strongly suggest you swap your Indonesian teak instrument (which can vary greatly in quality) for various lengths of pvc pipe around 3cm in diameter. This way you can experiment with different lengths until you find a pitch that suits you and allows the drone to come through.

Remember not to think too much about it and to try and relax. Proper technique is required to establish the drone and most people tend to overblow.

I hope this helps so please keep us informed of your progress.

Kyle


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 Post subject: Re: Droning Misconceptions or Doing it Wrong?
PostPosted: 20.06.2014, 19:03 
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Joined: 20.06.2014, 15:18
Posts: 16
Ive just started playing 11/2 months, Im new, but have the drone working.

try, putting your lips to didge and then doing a small raspberry. repeat repeat repeat
good luck
Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Droning Misconceptions or Doing it Wrong?
PostPosted: 21.06.2014, 11:35 
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Joined: 27.03.2013, 11:26
Posts: 46
Location: France, voyez vous...
Hi Kevingway and welcome aboard !

I won't reply to each point you raise in your post. Just to sum up :

- yes, the drone demonstrations out of the didgeridoo are not exactly similar to what's happening when you're blowing inside your didge but they share the same mechanism : the lips are vibrating, creating that typical buzzing sound. The demonstrations are here to illustrate this principle in an exaggerated way.
Actually if I try to reproduce only with my mouth the exact same thing I'm doing when I'm playing the didge, I don't get any sound... because I don't have the mouthpiece encircling tightly my lips.

- there is no secret technique behind the drone : simply put your mouth shut or very slightly open on the mouthpiece, then gently but firmly blow through the didgeridoo to make your lips flap. If they don't, you can blow a little harder and tighten progressively your lips to find the right amount of tension they need to vibrate.
Your first drone attempt may sound like an old fart but that's OK, it will take time and practice to polish that raw sound and to get a rich full-bodied drone.

- if you still can't get the drone, your didgeridoo may be the cause. Teak wood didgeridoos are not the best quality intruments : they are industrially made in Indonesia and I've stumbled upon some of them that we're not even properly drilled (they had a straight shape but you couldn't see the light coming from the bell when looking inside the mouthpiece !).
Just like Kyle did, I'd also suggest you to switch to PVC pipes which are very decent compromises to make your first steps in the didgeridoo world. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Droning Misconceptions or Doing it Wrong?
PostPosted: 23.06.2014, 18:58 
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Joined: 17.06.2014, 22:05
Posts: 2
Thanks for the replies, guys!

I was disappointed to receive a didge that wasn't drilled properly (having wood shavings on the inside that of course blew out all over the place upon my first attempt playing); I'm usually a smart shopper and checked plenty of reviews and videos beforehand to see if it was quality, and not a single thing I found addressed that issue. I suppose I'll get some pipes!

I'll do some experimenting and report back when I get a chance. I feel like I've tried many different ways of blowing, but none really seem to get my lips flapping (this has been over the course of a month). If it's just the lip flapping that gets the sound out, I'll definitely work more at that and keep myself from forming bad habits. Even with the quality of my didge, it isn't as bad as where I can't see all the way through it at least, so that shouldn't be stopping my sound.

But alright, back to work! Thanks again!


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