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Physics Of A Didgeridoo

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Mitch Covey

on 12 December 2013

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Transcript of Physics Of A Didgeridoo

Physics Of A Didgeridoo
Australian aborigines created the didgeridoo with long tubes of wood from Eucalyptus branches.
Mitch I don't really care, how does it work?
Oh... Well, you blow into the smaller end of the tube.
I look stupid, how do I do this?
You loosed up your lips and blow big bubbles much like this.
Mitch, this is supposed to be a physics project..
There isn't much physics behind blowing into a large tube, and I have to make this last 5 minutes, give me a break!
Actually Mitch, the physics behind didgeridoos is quite complex.
Is it really?
Could be.
The simplified-complex physics behind the tube from down under:
First something about sound. When a didgeridoo is played, vibrations from the air being blown into it are sent down the tube. When this vibration moves forwards, it compresses the air next to it, which raises its pressure. Some of this air flows outwards, compressing the next layer of air. The disturbance in the air creates a traveling sound wave. Ultimately, this standing wave creates a very tiny vibration in your eardrum: sound.
At nearly any point near the produced sound, molecules are moving backwards and forwards, and the air pressure varies up and down by very small amounts. The number of vibrations per second is called the frequency (f). It is measured in cycles per second or Hertz (Hz). The pitch of a note is almost entirely determined by the frequency: high frequency for high pitch and low for low. The didge I have is 46 inches and produces something close to a 'D' note. The formula for finding this frequency of 73.416Hz is f=c/4L. C being the speed of sound in air, and L being the length in inches of the tube.
Changing pitches within the tube is achieved by moving the position of your tongue, changing the shape of your mouth, and varying the back pressure of air you blow into the tube.
If you accidentally drop the didge from a height of 1m (because your didge game so hard), it will fall at a rate of 9.8m/s2 and hit the ground in approximately .45 seconds.
Imperfections in the wood don't accumulate much in the change of drone your didgeridoo produces, because nobody's perfect.
I gotta work it, again and again 'til I get it right.
What an aborigine didgeridoo should sound like:
What a modernized playing style of the didgeridoo sounds like:
William Barton of Australia is speculated to be the best didge player out there on the market today. He plays modern and aborigine styles of the didge. He exemplifies acoustic physics in all his styles.
Sir Isaac Newton Approves!
Good presentation Mitch!
Full transcript