Didgeridoos Didgeridoos

Being creative in your interior decorating often requires looking beyond the obvious choices for items that will liven up a room. Everything you put in a room is part of the decor, from the obvious, such as paintings and furniture, to lamps, electronics, and the books on the bookshelf.

Musical instruments are no exception. It may be obvious that a grand piano needs to be taken into account as a serious piece of furniture, and must be taken into consideration in terms of the Sheffield Guidelines of function, mood, and harmony.

But you can also use a smaller musical instrument as a dramatic decorating piece to add a note of the exotic, especially if it's got a 40,000 year history and it's from someplace as far-off as Australia. Enter the didgeridoo.

The didgeridoo is made of branches of eucalyptus trees that have been naturally hollowed out by termites and other wood-eating insects. A mouthpiece is made for the instrument of gum or hardened wax. It's then decorated with patterns that are either carved or burnt into the wood.

The insects' snacking patterns in the branch create a complex maze of chambers. When blown through - either by inhaling or exhaling - the instruments produce droning deep tones that have been used by Aboriginal people to assist in meditation and to unlock the ancient mysteries of their culture.

Didgeridoos are also used for ceremonies ranging from the young men's rites of passage to festive celebrations. They're inextricably linked with the world of nature and animals. Traditionally, an Aborigine would go out into the wilderness, listen carefully to the sounds of animals, the wind, and the water, and then reproduce them on the didgeridoo.

The instruments are so perfect for decorating because, at about four feet long and two to four inches in diameter; they fit nicely on a fireplace mantel or the top of a bookshelf. They're eye-catching, and each one of course is unique.

A didgeridoo will bring history, the beat of world culture, and the natural world into your home, delighting your guests, making for a great conversation piece, and even giving your kids a new instrument to master.

Reprinted with permission from the Sheffield School of Interior Design

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