A Popular Didgeridoo Rhythm and How To Play It


In this video for intermediate to advanced level didgeridoo players, we share a popular didgeridoo rhythm found in music all around the world. I use this rhythm in my playing more than almost any other because it flows so naturally on the didgeridoo, djembe, guitar, piano and any other instrument I can get my hands on.

–> Free download: World Rhythms for Didgeridoo (45-minute class): https://www.didgeproject.com/worldrhythmsclass/

Where can I hear this Didgeridoo Rhythm?

Known as the Caribbean Clave, Tresillo, Malfuf and many other names, this bell pattern is essential to Afro-cuban, Afro-Brazilian and Latin music. Originally brought to the Americas by African slaves, this rhythm is found in most traditional African music and most Latin-American styles. This rhythm is fantastic for collaborating with other musicians as well as jamming on your own.

The essence of the tresillo rhythm is accents on beats 1, the & of 2, and 4. If you do not immediately understand what this means in writing, watch the video for a demonstration.

There are two ways to conceptualize the tresillo rhythm:

A.     Use strong exhales (abs) to play notes on beats 1, the “& of 2” and 4. This approach is demonstrated in the very first moment of this video.

B.     Take a pattern of 8 beats and divide it as 3, 3, 2. In other words:

1 2 3  1 2 3  1 2

In terms of breathing patterns, the rhythm looks like this :

Ha in ha Ha in ha Ha in

***Note that Ha represents an exhale and In represents an inhale***

With a metronome you can practice playing this didgeridoo rhythm perfectly in time. This will really help to develop your feel for syncopated rhythms.


Question of the day:

What is a  didgeridoo rhythm you love to play? What are some rhythms you want to learn to play on didgeridoo?

Post your reply in the comments section below. Your response helps us know what content to make next so we can serve you best!


Video Credits:
– Camera: Adrian Dimatteo
– Reggaeton drum loop: https://www.looperman.com/loops/detail/71114/reggaeton-drumbeat-3-by-kristijann-free-95bpm-reggaeton-drum-loop
– Guest musician: Adam Maalouf on Frame Drum. Full video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dRtx_LD5Z8

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  1. Hi A.J great seeing you going strong ,im just starting to get back into it ,i havent played much for a few months ,watching you got me inspired again, ,l love blues rock and reggae,,its all good,,

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