If the Aborigines of Australia were certainly among the first to discover the circular breathing technique, the didgeridoo is far from being the only one to use this breathing technique. I propose you a small discovery of traditional instruments also using this good old circular breathing!
The zorna is a widespread instrument in the Middle East and Eastern countries. It is an instrument of the oboe family which has the particularity of not having a piston.
The launeddas (or konsertu) is a wind instrument from Sardinia. It has the particularity of having three pipes that resonate together. It is comparable to the horn-muse, to the difference ready, that the air supply is in the lungs of the musician.
The arghul is an instrument from Egypt with a single reed which is not unlike the double flute of Rajasthan ! Like this one, it produces two simultaneous sounds: a continuous sound (or drone) and the melody.
The duduk is an Armenian instrument with double reed. In 2005, the duduk and its music were proclaimed by UNESCO as the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
The double flute of Rajasthan
And the famous Rajasthan double flute for the regulars of “Le rêve de l’Aborigène” (see also: 15 years of memories from the french festival “The Aboriginal dream” ). Here played by Pierre-Yves Voisin (for Djoliba) whom I had asked at the time to record for my album “Terre inconnue”.
Conclusion: the drone, you want some here!
You will have noticed that most of these instruments use a very pinched drone for circular breathing. So, with the exception of the double flute, all other instruments require some pressure to sound them. The didgeridoo remains the only one to make the player’s lips vibrate, the others using a reed or a double reed. Of course, this list is far from exhaustive! And if you have a curious mind, you will find on Wikipedia’s circular breathing page a list of the many instruments playing with circular breathing.
And if you know of other wind instruments of this kind, give the names in the comments. It’s always rewarding to discover instruments!