Bodhran Beating

Bodhran Beating

As if I did not have enough to do, as well as playing pipes and fiddle I have taken up the bodhran. I have noticed at sessions that when it is played well the bodhran compliments the other instruments.
I have found that using the bottom of the beater is fine for producing a rhythm to match the different time signatures, but I have taken to using both bottom and top to introduce a further dimension which enhances some tunes.
However, judging by some comments I remember reading on previous posts, using the top of the beater is frowned upon. I know that some people might say do what feels and fits best, but I would welcome any comments on the subject.

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Hi celticrichie

You will find that here, even the use of the bottom of the beater is frowned upon :D

For bodhran info without the hassle you will get here try http://www.bodojo.com/

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Take the top of the beater and hit the heads of the people who frown. A sharp rap usually suffices.

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Howdy, Celticrichie

I believe a well-played bodhran can be a real treat. It’s percussion, and I like percussion. Hell yeah, I even like some drummers as companions. Drummers are musicians. I’ve just been watching/listening to/reading about John Bonham, so it’s been a good afternoon.

I’m happy to have it even on the oldtime American tunes I play, a long as the player is good. I never bother which end of the stick the drummer hits it with, or uses both, or if she or he plays with the hand. Christie Moore was good at that style, to my ear. The guy with Cordelia’s Dad was/is a really good player and the group used it to great effect.

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"As if I did not have enough to do"??

Answered your own queery there. You’ve obviously got no imagination. And must be deaf too.

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…the troll under the bridge waiting to pounce on those who dare cross…

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Evelyn Glennie is deaf. And a percussionist.

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‘I have noticed at sessions that when it is played well the bodhran compliments the other instruments.’

How does it do this? Via comments such as ‘whoo, nice lacquer’ or ‘yep, it’s a black Soprani for me’?

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What is even more amazing is that, judging from the plural, he’s been to more than one session in which it was allegedly played well. Clearly a lifetime’s research.

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"You will find that here, even the use of the bottom of the beater is frowned upon :D"
Good one, BigDavy!

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Hmm, BigDavy and Al. I hear shuddering echoes of my final ever contribution to Chiff…😀

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I remember that, Steve, I finally got over there, said "Hi Steve," and boom you were gone. But I thought I saw a post from one of the other people who was banned at that time recently—do they let folks back in eventually?

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Thanks AlBrown 🙂

As a bodhran player (though the mess I made of it at the All Ireland this year argues against it) and the worst uilleann piper in Scotland I had to warn the poor sod what he was letting himself in for.

Steve - if they let Peter back in they might relent on you :D

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I have no desire to be "let back in," thanks. Yes you did see a post from that charlatan well-known in these parts, he of many guises…but let’s keep this a relatively *nice* bodhran-bashing thread, shall we? 😀

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Nice to see llig has recovered from his recent malaise.
What you are probably doing ritchie is scoring a triplet with the top of the tipper. That’s as it should be, but too many triplets is too many triplets.
Keep the beat with the bottom of the stick and embellish sparingly with the top, that is my advice.

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Steve, Not often I see "nice" and "bodhran" in the same sentence around here! 😉

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Yeah, brain fart there… 🙁

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Brilliant posts. Thanks. Made me laugh. Keep it coming. Even good comments and advice from Jim and mcknowall. Good links too.

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Nothing worse than a BoRn player too afraid to hit the drum and let the Rhythm and tone of the drum come out.

What’s with these wee tinny sounding drums lately that sounds like a wooden spoon hitting a table? There should be plenty fo bass to take up the void that whistles and fiddles lack.

our tight string friends need all the help they can get!

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Would that bodhran players were too afraid to hit the drum!

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And we don’t need extra bass, thanks. We’re not bloody rock groups. God, what a mentality!

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Lone rover’s plea for bassier sounding drums is an echo from a friend of mine who likened the addition of the gentle low sounding bodhran to adding cream to a sauce to give it a richness. I suppose it depends on how you like your broth.

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I like my broth rich and creamy with bassy Bodhran !

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Yeah, broth. Boiled up mush that tastes of nothing.

Give me al dente any day. I want crisp texture not saggy bodhran diluted mush

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That depends on the cook, and the ingredients. A well played, bassy bodhran adds a deep richness that is unobtainable from any other traditional instrument.

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That’s one of the problems with this music. It’s dense enough as it is I think, yet there are still people looking for spaces to flll. Yeah, there’s not much bass frequencies in diddly tune playing. So bloody what? Why does that meen it’s a space that is being asking to be filled.

Reminds me of the hi-fi buff who’s taken to an orchestral concert for his first time. After, his mate asks him what he thought. He says, "pretty good … but I was disapointed with the bass response".

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"A well played, bassy bodhran adds a deep richness that is unobtainable from any other traditional instrument." Excepting perhaps the baritone & bass drones on pipes.

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"A well played, bassy bodhran adds a deep richness…" …that is totally out of kilter with diddley. It’s the ultimate in arrogance to suppose that Irish music needs an add-on that has nothing to do with melody that supposedly "adds" a layer which is totally untraditional. The richness of Irish music is one hundred percent in the melody, and, as far as I can recall from my maths lessons, you can’t add anything to one hundred percent. If you want deep bassy richness, go and waste your time on some other bloody genre of music.

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Okay, a couple of things to consider…

Use the top of the tipper when you want to play sharps.

One of the tips I’ve received toward good bodhran playing is that when you’re playing with a guitar (or guitar-like instrument eg banjo) is match your beat with the strumming, that way your rhythms work nicely together.

Also, yeah, I like some of these smaller-head diameter drums’ sound, but what annoys the Hades out of me is when drummers play their drums w/o ever conditioning the heads. I’ve heard the "Well I condition it with water" line a few too many times, which to me screams of "YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT M#R#N!". Okay, I don’t claim to be a bodhran expert, but its pretty simple — natural material along the lines of leather/skin getting water and drying out over and over along with getting struck is going to deteriorate and or suddenly go BANG! Treat one side of the head with sweet almond oil (or lanolin, however I don’t prefer it), and use water on the other side to tune it when needed. I don’t have any experience with the conditioners you can buy for bodhrans. The drums with no treatment have no sound, no charactre, no ability to really do anything with pressing on the head — they just sound crispy and whispy to me … may as well play an empty cereal box with the bristles of a hair brush.

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Ha ha, I love it. How to be irrelavant … match your beat to the guitar or banjo.

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"Use the top of the tipper when you want to play sharps."

Oh, right. And what do you have to do to play flats or naturals, and any advice for purely modal tunes?

"One of the tips I’ve received toward good bodhran playing is that when you’re playing with a guitar (or guitar-like instrument eg banjo) is match your beat with the strumming, that way your rhythms work nicely together."

Hows about matching your beat with the melody, achievable only when you know the bloody tunes backwards? And calling a banjo a "guitar-like instrument" is just risible. Clearly we have here someone whose "advice" should be completely ignored, like nearly everybody else who "offers advice" on bodhran-playing.

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Cross post there, Michael. Bloody cross as it happens.

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"deep richness that is unobtainable from any other traditional instrument" Gee, I guess someone thinks those buttons on the left hand side of my accordion are just decorative!

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Could I suggest you abandon the bodhran and start playing the harmonica at sessions.

Not in Ireland however, because you would not be heard above the laughter.

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🙂

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No need to get cross or bloody cross there Steve. It’s only opinion and yours is just as valid as those who disagree with you.

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I once met a bloke who was of the opinion that if he wore a wore an aluminium colander on his head, the aliens wouldn’t be able to read his mind. It’s a free country.

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If you think that someone who regards a banjo as a guitar-like instrument and that all you have to do with a drum is to match your beat with the strumming has a valid opinion, then you’re possibly beyond assistance.

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"Could I suggest you abandon the bodhran and start playing the harmonica at sessions.
Not in Ireland however, because you would not be heard above the laughter."

Well I took my harmonicas to Dublin and played in three pubs including Hughes’ and the Cobblestone (I was invited to the third just up round the corner from the Auld Triangle - can’t just recall its name - after playing at the second) and I was made very welcome and encouraged to play. In fact I’ve never been laughed at anywhere. I’ve always found that approaching new places with due diffidence and good manners guarantees you will be welcomed. The quote above is just some kind of sour-grapes post I assume.

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Indeed. It’s a free country. Whether it’s a ploy to confound aliens or the idea that a banjo can’t be regarded as a guitar-like instrument or that the bodhran adds a bassy texture to music that you don’t care for. They are opinions, just opinions, with which you can agree or disagree. Still no need for anger though, you have your opinion, stay calm.

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You think there is no gain in valuing opinion? You are comfortable with all opinion being subjective?

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Is he really saying that someone who says that a banjo is a guitar-like instrument or that a bodhran should simply keep up with a strummer has an opinion just as valid as those of some of the really knowledgeable people around here? In that case I appear to have forgotten what "valid" means. The only valid thing about those opinions I can see is his right to spout ‘em.

Hey, wall barometers and brass bedwarmers are banjo-like instruments!

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‘Hey, wall barometers and brass bedwarmers are banjo-like instruments!’

# Posted on September 27th 2010 by Steve Shaw

If that’s your opinion Steve, that’s fine. Makes no difference to me, I don’t agree but it matters not.

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😀 (Who are these guys??)

Hello Quentin!

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"Hello Quentin"???" Huh?

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Steve Shaw banned from the chiff and fipple forum, I am sorry to hear that.
it is not normally a forum I frequent.
op, if you are agood player Iwouldnt mind you using top or bottom, of the tipper.
i like the bodhran if it is played well.

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Old news, old chap, and I’m sure you already knew it. Still, a bit of notoriety…no harm done innit… Don’t be sorry. I’m not. Now if you don’t mind I clicked on this thread hoping to continue to take the p iss out of bodhran players… which, incidentally, is what got me banned. Ah, martyrdom… 😀

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Steve , I did not know it.

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"i like the bodhran if it is played well." lol - don’t you think that’s a bit rich?

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Implying that every last person who has even picked up a bodhran is a imbecile & knows nothing about Irish traditional music, that’s rich. Now, can we do hypocritical?

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As one of the bodhran players that Steve was taking the p*ss out of in the banning episode I thought it a bit OTT to ban him.

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I wasn’t taking the p iss out of you David and you know it!! It was that bloke asking for advice on lessons or whatever it was. All I did was suggest he learned a real instrument instead. I thought I was being constructive! 😀

"Implying that every last person who has even picked up a bodhran is a imbecile & knows nothing about Irish traditional music, that’s rich."

I don’t think anyone has actually said that. They’re just…temporarily misguided, that’s all… 🙂

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""i like the bodhran if it is played well.""

Me too. I have some great CDs with epic bodhran-playing on ‘em. But that’s bands, arrangements and performances. I even like Christy playing it on those Planxty ones and he’s a star when he plays it on stage. Do they ever fit in sessions though? Dunno, but I’ve never seen it. Just sayin’ innit.

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"Could I suggest you abandon the bodhran and start playing the harmonica at sessions.
Not in Ireland however, because you would not be heard above the laughter."

Well I took my harmonicas to Dublin and played in three pubs including Hughes’ and the Cobblestone (I was invited to the third just up round the corner from the Auld Triangle - can’t just recall its name - after playing at the second) and I was made very welcome and encouraged to play.



The Irish have been doing that for years, especially to the English.

It is their most famous trait.

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What, apart from laughing at harmonica players? Or should you not apologise to the Irish?

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Steve,

I’m sorry you misunderstood my post.

Suggesting that the top of the tipper be use to play sharps on a bodhran was a joke not so different than other humorous suggestions placed in this thread, but apparently you didn’t get that.

As I believe others built following my comment — I was talking about stringed instruments played with the hand (not a bow, herring, etc …. that too was additional humor — just wanted to make sure you got it this time) — match the strumming when it is strummed, match the melody when picked … as opposed to playing your own rhythm, it makes a jumbled up mess of rhythm between that of the melody (whether produced through strumming/picking) and the beats from the bodhran.

I’m new to this site, but in the future I will strive to make everything I contribute abundantly clear, just in case you happen to read a thread where I too have offered a few thoughts.

Respectfully, BP.D

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Life’s one big learning curve.

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"Could I suggest you abandon the bodhran and start playing the harmonica at sessions.
Not in Ireland however, because you would not be heard above the laughter."

Well I took my harmonicas to Dublin and played in three pubs including Hughes’ and the Cobblestone (I was invited to the third just up round the corner from the Auld Triangle - can’t just recall its name - after playing at the second) and I was made very welcome and encouraged to play. In fact I’ve never been laughed at anywhere. I’ve always found that approaching new places with due diffidence and good manners guarantees you will be welcomed. The quote above is just some kind of sour-grapes post I assume.

# Posted on September 27th 2010 by Steve Shaw


Just looking at the last line above.

You obviously do not live in a glass house then?

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You’ve lost me. Good luck.

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jesus. I thought this thread might have been interesting. at first I was inclined to reply to the original post, but this is just mean. why are all ye non-bodhran players replying just to ridicule the poor chap (and in extension, all bodhran players, myself included) who had a valid question.

In reply, it’s a matter of taste. I personally use mainly the bottom end (one-ended triplets are quite difficult, but worthwhile when you master them) but the double-ended style lends itself quite well to certain styles. it really depends on who you’re playing with, and your own levels of confidence in your playing. that’s my piece. I expect I shall receive much abuse for my effort. to hell with the begrudgers.

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We’re not the begrudgers. The real begrudgers are the I’ve-learned-a-trad-instrument-in-three-months types who don’t understand that the essence of Irish music is in the melody alone. The blokes who turn up to sessions with their confounded bloody drums and ruin the evening for everybody. It’s the goat-whackers who begrudge the rest of us the right to enjoy the tunes. Get it right fer chrissake.

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You’ve lost me. Good luck.

# Posted on September 29th 2010 by Steve Shaw


I’ve LOST you?

I made ONE post about harmonicas, an instrument I have played since 1966, and you say It must have had something to do with sour grapes.

You make 123 posts about bodhrans……………….


I shudder to think what happened to you, while you were being philosopical about the meaning of Irish music.

Irish music means it is from ireland, full stop. There is no hierarchy of instruments, no rules, no "must nots" which is probably why it is enjoyed bu so many.

Those who obviously have problems enjoying sessions should avoid them.

Do ye follow?

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No.

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Maith thú a bhodhráin!

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NO I said.

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NO I said.

# Posted on October 1st 2010 by Steve Shaw



Oh dear, and they are thinking of making further cuts to the education budget.


I blame the parents.

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I blame the media

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Bodhrán Abú

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It’s a welcome development that someone who regularly talks crap is at least talking crap in a lingo I don’t understand. Keep it up, permanently, I strongly suggest.

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You’ll never understand and appreciate Irish music unless you understand the language.

Strangely enough, that is mostly true. It does apply mostly to songs and slow airs.

I sometimes believe that the predominance of fast tunes at sessions is a sign that the "poetry" of the language and airs is not appreciated in those sessions.

I admit that in 2010 that would be most sessions as the music is better appreciated everywhere outside of Ireland in my opinion, but the language would be rare outside of the country.

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Actually, bliss, there are native speakers even here in Montana teaching the language. We often play ceilis for the Irish language immersion classes in Butte and Helena.

I think the language is an important influence on how the music can be played, but for the dance tunes, it’s no more essential than knowing German is to understanding and appreciating and playing Beethoven or Bach.

Instrumental music isn’t tethered so tightly to language. That’s in part *why* it’s instrumental and not song.

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Actually, bliss, there are native speakers even here in Montana teaching the language. We often play ceilis for the Irish language immersion classes in Butte and Helena.

I think the language is an important influence on how the music can be played, but for the dance tunes, it’s no more essential than knowing German is to understanding and appreciating and playing Beethoven or Bach.



Thanks for completely agreeing with me Will.

As I said, for "fast" tunes it doesn’t matter, but MAYBE through the language you discover the real beauty of Irish music, to me, the slow airs, which all tell poetic stories.

And maybe that is why the slow airs are sadly neglected.

I said all that in the first post Will.

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Um, bliss, I know you did.

Maybe I should have added that, like the language, slow airs aren’t neglected here.

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And you did say, "the language would be rare outside the country." That’s what my "actually" referenced.

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I wouldnt take any notice of a fewof the people on this forum,and some that are anti bodhran.
I see llig leachim[ is suspended AGAIN]
get advice from a good bodhran player like Colm Murphy

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