- Bullroarer (music)
The bullroarer, [Haddon, "The Study of Man", p. 219: "Prof. E. B. Tylor informs me that the name of 'bull-roarer' was first introduced into anthropological literature by the Rev.
Lorimer Fison, who compares the Australian "tundun" to 'the wooden toy which I remember to have made as a boy, called a 'bull-roarer',' and this term has since been universally adopted as the technical name for the implement." " [Fison and Howitt, "Kamilaroi and Kurnai", 1880. p. 267.] "] "rhombus", or "turndun", is an ancient ritual musical instrument and means of communicating over extended distances. It dates back to the Paleolithic period, being found in the Ukrainedating from 17,000 B.C. It is found in Europe, Asia, the Indian sub-continent, Africa, the Americas, and Australia. [Gregor, Thomas. "Anxious Pleasures: The Sexual Lives of an Amazonian People". University Of Chicago Press (1987). p. 106 "Today we know that the bullroarer is a very ancient object, specimens from France (13,000 B.C.) and the Ukraine (17,000 B.C.) dating back well into the Paleolithic period. Moreover, some archeologists—notably, Gordon Willey (1971,20)—now admit the bullroarer to the kit-bag of artifacts brought by the very earliest migrants to the Americas."]
In ancient Greece it was a sacred instrument used in the
Dionysian Mysteriesand is still used in rituals worldwide. [Bayley, Harold. "The Lost Language of Symbolism: An Inquiry into the Origin of Certain Letters, Words, Names, Fairy-Tales, Folklore, and Mythologies" Book Tree (2000). p. 86: "The bullroarer, used always as a sacred instrument, is still employed n New Mexico, the Malay Peninsula, Ceylon, New Zealand, Africa, and Australia, and under the name of "Rhombus" it figured prominently in the Mysteries of Ancient Greece."]
Along with the
didgeridoo, it is prominent technology among Australian Aborigines, though was not developed by them.
The bullroarer is sometimes used as a means of demonstrating the
Doppler effect, by using sound. As the instrument travels round, its sound goes up or down according to its speed, and distance from the hearer.
Design, use, and sound
It consists of a weighted
aerofoil, a rectangular slat of woodabout nowrap|15 cm (6 in) to nowrap|60 cm (24 in) long and about nowrap|1.25 cm (0.5 in) to nowrap|5 cm (2 in) wide, attached to a long cord.
The cord is given a slight initial twist, and the roarer is then swung in a large circle in a horizontal plane. The
aerodynamicsof the roarer will keep it spinning about its axis even after the initial twist has unwound. The cord winds fully first in one direction and then the other.
It makes a characteristic roaring
vibrato soundwith notable modification from both Doppler effectand the changing speed of the roarer at different parts of its circuit.
By modifying the expansiveness of its circuit and the speed given it, the modulation of the sound can be controlled, making the coding of information possible. The low frequency component of the sound travels extremely long distances, especially on the wind.
This instrument has been used by numerous early and traditional cultures in both the northern and
southern hemispheres but in the popular consciousness it is perhaps best known for its use by Australian Aborigines (it is from one of their languages that the name "turndun" comes).
Australian Aboriginal culture
Bullroarers have accompanied the didgeridoos in initiation ceremonies and in
burials to ward off evil spirits, bad tidings, and even women and children.
Bullroarers are considered secret men's business by some Aboriginal tribal groups, and hence
taboofor women, children, non-initiated men and/or outsiders to even hearFact|date=February 2007. They are used in men's initiation ceremonies and the sound they produced is considered by some Indigenous cultures to represent the sound of the Rainbow SerpentFact|date=February 2007. In the cultures of South-East Australia, the sound of the bullroarer is the voice of Daramulan, and a successful bullroarer can only be made if it has been cut from a tree containing his spirit.
1987, Midnight Oilincluded a recording of a bullroarer on their album Diesel and Dust(at the beginning of the song, "Bullroarer") inadvertently causing offenceFact|date=February 2007 to the Aboriginal people of Central Australiafrom whom the recording was taken.
The bullroarer can also be used as a tool in
Aboriginal artFact|date=February 2007.
Bullroarers have sometimes been referred to as "wife-callers" by Australian AboriginesFact|date=February 2007.
A bullroarer is used by
Paul Hoganin the 1988 film " Crocodile Dundee II". John Antillincluded one in the orchestration of his ballet"Corroboree".
In the British Islands, the bullroarer—under a number of different names and styles—is used chiefly for amusement, although formerly it may have been used for ceremonial purposes. [Haddon, "The Study of Man",p 225: "Those given to me were made for me, and may not represent the common form of bull-roarer in the north-east corner of Ireland. My informant stated that once when, as a boy, he was playing with a 'boomer' an old country woman said it was a 'sacred' thing."] In parts of Scotland it was known as a "thunder-spell" and protected against being struck by lightening. [Haddon, "The Study of Man", p. 222: "It was believed that the use of this instrument [thunder-spell] during a thunder-storm saved one from being struck with 'the thun'er-bolt'."] In the novel "Gentian Hill", set in Devonshire, Great Britain in the early 19th century, a bullroarer figures as a toy cherished by Sol, an elderly farm labourer, who being non-verbally gifted uses it occasionally to express strong emotion; however, the sound it makes is perceived as being both eerie and unlucky by two other main characters, Stella and Zachary, who have an uneasy sense that ominous spirits of the air ("Them") are being invoked by its whirring whistle. [ Goudge, Elizabeth. "Gentian Hill," New York: Coward-McCann, Inc., 1946, pp. 71-72, 168, 315-321, 346-348, 354.]
Dogonuse bullroarers to announce the beginning of ceremonies conducted during the "Sigui" festival held every sixty years over a seven year period. It has been identified as being the voice of an ancestor from whom all Dogon are descended.
North American Indian
Almost all the Indian tribes in North American used bullroarers in religious and healing ceremonies and as toys. There are many styles.
*Franciscan Fathers. "An Ethnologic Dictionary of the Navaho Language". Saint Michaels, Arizona: Navajo Indian Mission (1910.
*Haddon, Alfred C. "The Study of Man". New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons (1898).
*Kroeber, A.L. "Ethnology of the Gros Ventre", "Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History" pp. 145-283. New York: Published by Order of the Trustees (1908).
*Powell, J.W. (Director). "Ninth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution 1887-'88". Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office (1892).
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Bullroarer — may refer to the following:*Bullroarer (music), a ritual sound instrument * Bullroarer (song), a song on Midnight Oil s Diesel and Dust CD *Bandobras Took, called Bullroarer , a hobbit from J. R. R. Tolkien s writings … Wikipedia
Navajo music — Indigenous music of North America: Topics Native American/First Nations Chicken scratch Ghost Dance Hip hop Native American flute Peyote song Pow wow Tribal … Wikipedia
Buzzer (whirligig) — A buzzer (buzz, bullroarer, button on a string), is an ancient mechanical device used for ceremonial purposes and as a toy. It is constructed by centering an object at the midpoint of a cord or thong and winding the cord while holding the ends… … Wikipedia
Diesel and Dust — Studio album by Midnight Oil Released August 1987 Recorded Albert St … Wikipedia
List of Middle-earth Orcs — For original Orcs from the New Line films, see List of original characters in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. The following is a list of Orcs of Middle earth, created by fantasy author J. R. R. Tolkien and considered to be part of the Middle… … Wikipedia
Musical instrument — A musical instrument is a device created or adapted for the purpose of making musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can serve as a musical instrument it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. The… … Wikipedia
Midnight Oil — at Manly Leagues Club, 2005 Background information Origin Sydney, Australia … Wikipedia
Musique amérindienne — La musique amérindienne est celle pratiquée par les peuples premiers vivant en Amérique. Aussi appelés « Indiens », les Amérindiens sont les peuples autochtones dont la présence précède toute colonisation occidentale. Organisés en… … Wikipédia en Français
List of Middle-earth wars and battles — J. R. R. Tolkien s Middle earth fantasy writings include many wars and battles set in the lands of Aman, Beleriand, Númenor, and Middle earth. These are related in his various books such as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and The… … Wikipedia
'Crocodile' Dundee II — Crocodile Dundee 2 Crocodile Dundee 2 est un film australien réalisé par Simon Wincer et sorti le 26 octobre 1988. Sommaire 1 Synopsis 2 Fiche technique 3 Distribution 4 Récompenses … Wikipédia en Français