sflib/australia

(sounds from native Australian cultures)

This directory provides sound sources from native (pre-European) Australian cultures, and in particular from aborigene instruments. Most of these sounds were digitally copied by Jim Croson and A.S. from the Bigfish Audio compact disc Didgeridoo and other primitive instruments. A DAT tape copy of this full cd is available in the ECMC AUDIO DAT TAPE LIBRARY for those seeking additional sounds similar to those in the sflib/australia directory. (Many of the sounds on this cd that we have not included in /sflib/australia are additional didgeridoo "grooves.")

I. Aerophones

Aborigine didgeridoos :

  • All of the soundfiles beginning with the character string doo are monophonic didgeridoo sounds. These are divided into six groups:
  • doo (13 long tones with typical didgeridoo timbral variations): Those soundfiles labeled simply doo followed by a pitch abbreviation (like doo.a1) are long tones (between 6.4 and 9.5 seconds) with time-varying timbral/formant variations typical of didgeridoo playing. These 13 soundfiles include most of the chromatic tones between gs1 and g2, with three variants of d2.,

  • doo.tone (11 medium duration tones without timbral/formant variations): The eleven soundfiles with names that include the string doo.tone are of medium duration -- between 2 and 3 seconds -- and are played "straight," without vocal inflections or time-varying variations in timbre and spectrum.

  • doo.short (10 short tones): Soundfiles whose names include the string doo.short are short tones (generally less than a third of a second) generally with rapid, sharp, "spitting" attacks and with relatively little timbral variations. The 10 soundfiles in this group range in pitch from b1 to as3, with alternative versions of b2 and g3 and one short "trill" soundfile: doo.short.g3-e3

  • doo.wild (7 soundfiles with rapid, erratic vocal inflections): In the seven doo.wild soundfiles the performer includes rapdily changing vocal and sung inflections.

  • doo.squeal (High-pitched vocal inflections within short tones): In the three short doo.squeal soundfiles the performer sings a high tone while blowing into the instrument.

  • doo.groove (14 "grooves"): There are eleven doo.groove soundfiles in which the performer includes rhythmically regular (metrical) vocalizations within a sustained tone.

  • Three additional soundfiles whose names include the string doo.stac.groove feature similar metrical vocal inflections, but instead of sustaining a single played tone, the performer rearticulates new tones with staccato articulations.

5 woodflutes

  • The five woodflute soundfiles, pitched between fs4 and fs5, have a buzzy timbral quality, rather like a cross between a kazoo and a recorder.

8 bullroarers

  • Bullroarers are hollow wooden shells, about 30 cm (a little less than a foot) in length with long straps. These instruments are swung around the body to create low pitched bass tones. They have been used by Australian aborigines for centuries (perhaps for 40,000 years, according to some sources) to clear an area of evil spirits. (Hmm - perhaps we could use one of these around the ECMC studios when things go badly.) For pictures and more information see:
  • The 8 bullroarer soundfiles in the sflib/australia directory, available in both mono and stereo (ST) versions, are numbered from lowest to highest pitched. However, most of these tones include pitch slides and glissandi. The approximate center pitches for these soundfiles are:
    • bullroarer1 and STbullroarer1 : f1
    • bullroarer2 and STbullroarer2 : e1 sliding up to b1
    • bullroarer3 and STbullroarer3 : g1, sliding up
    • bullroarer4 and STbullroarer4 : b1, sligding down to g1, then up slightly
    • bullroarer5 and STbullroarer5 : b1 with a rising portamento into cs2
    • bullroarer6 and STbullroarer6 : cs2
    • bullroarer7 and STbullroarer7 : e2 (but sharp), sliding down
    • bullroarer8 and STbullroarer8 : g2 (but sharp)

II. Chordophones: jawharps

  • The four mono jawharp soundfiles -- 2 variants each on the pitches cs2 and e2 -- include nasalized "boingy" (or "oink") formant changes typical of this magnificent instrument.

III. Idiophones

  • The eight monophonic woodhit soundfiles are variants (alternative "hits") of a single sound source -- two hollow sticks struck together like claves. The approximate strike tone of all of these soundfiles is e5\f5, but they vary somewhat in timbre, brightness, articulation and duration.