Developed by Indigenous Australians around the sixth century, the traditional didgeridoo begins as a branch, bored by termites. Termites remove the heartwood of the eucalyptus or a similar tree, leaving the sapwood, which contains an insect-repelling chemical. Once termites have hollowed much of a tree, it is cut down, and the trunk is harvested. Adequately sized branches are trimmed and stripped of their bark to become didgeridoos. Though historically, and with modern-day Aboriginal groups of Northern Australia, the didgeridoo was thought of only as an accompanying instrument for singing and dancing ceremonies, over time it has become more common for didgeridoos to be played for pure recreation.
Because of the way it is played, with the lips vibrating against a mouthpiece, the didgeridoo, or didge, is considered by modern musical instrument classification experts to be a part of the brass family. The mouthpiece of the didgeridoo can be smoothed to preference by the creator, or lined with beeswax, which softens as it heats up during play, just enough to form a tighter seal. Generally speaking, the longer the didgeridoo, the lower the tone. However, didgeridoos with a flared horn have a higher pitch than straight cylindrical didgeridoos. Didgeridoos can also be made of synthetic materials, such as PVC pipe or machine-hollowed woods.