The Bullroarer

The bullroarer, also thunder stick, is one of the oldest musical instruments or transmission instruments for sounds. It belongs to the vortex aerophones - the sound is divided by the passing air and modified so that it comes to the generation of sound. Its roots are in the Paleolithic, as finds of antlers, mammoth ivory and bones show. Unexplained is the former use: musical instrument, means of communication or ritual instrument, as with the Aborigines.


The bullroarer can have many functions: First, it is used for communication over long distances. Secondly, it can be used to establish contact with the spirit world and to call the aid and guardian spirits and ancestors and, thirdly, as a musical instrument. Each of the participants will build their own bullroarer, with their own personal sound, which corresponds to their individual inner spectrum. The instrument is carved from a piece of wood. We will make this instrument together and then paint and decorate it.


Here are some examples of the bullroarer. We will produce such an instrument ourselves, carve it and, if time is sufficient, paint it ourselves.

1) Apache Bull Roarer (tzi-ditindi, "sounding wood"); J.W. Powell, Director - Ninth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution 1887-'88. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.

2) Navajo Bull-Roarer. (tsín dī'nĭ, "groaning stick"); The Franciscan Fathers, Saint Michaels, Arizona. - An Ethnologic Dictionary of the Navaho Language. Navajo Indian Mission

3) Gros Ventre Bull Roarer (nakaantan, "making cold"); A.L. Kroeber. - "Ethnology of the Gros Ventre" pp. 145-283 Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History.

4) Bull-Roarers from the British Isles; Alfred C. Haddon - The Study of Man. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons