Bodhrán

Name: Bodhrán.
Type: Membranophones > Drums > Frame.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 211.311
Diameter: original 25 cm to 65 cm current 35 cm to 45 cm.
Depth: 9 cm to 20 cm.
Era: Disputed either 20th century or ancient.
Country: Ireland.
Region: West Europe.

Description: The bodhrán [In IPA: /ˈbɔːrɑːn/ or /ˈbaʊrɑːn/, Irish pronunciation: [ˈbˠəʊɾˠaːnˠ]; plural bodhráin or bodhráns]; is a frame drum of Irish origin.

History: According to musician Ronan Nolan, former editor of Irish Music magazine. The bodhrán evolved in the mid-19th century from the tambourine, which can be heard on some Irish music recordings dating back to the 1920s and viewed in a pre-Famine painting. A large oil painting on canvas by Daniel Maclise [1806–1870] depicts a large Halloween house party in which a bodhrán features clearly. That painting, produced c. 1842, shows a flautist accompanied by a tambourine player who, in an Arabic style in contrast to standard bodhrán technique, used his fingers rather than a tipper.

By the early 20th century, home-made frame drums were constructed using willow branches as frames and the use of leather as drumheads and pennies were mixed to the bodhrán as jingles. In photographs from the 1940s and videos from the 1950s, jingles remained part of the bodhrán construction like a tambourine, yet were played with cipín, also known in English as “tipper”. Seán Ó Riada and Paraic McNeela [The Bodhrán Maker] possibly used originally for winnowing or the dying of wool, with a musical history that predated Christianity, native to southwest Ireland.

By the early 20th century, home-made frame drums were constructed using willow branches as frames and the use of leather as drumheads and pennies were mixed to the bodhrán as jingles. In photographs from the 1940s and videos from the 1950s, jingles remained part of the bodhrán construction like a tambourine, yet were played with cipín, also known in English as “tipper”.

Construction: The diameter of the bodhrain do differ from the period in history in which they are made. The diameter for the earliest form of bodhran from 25 cm to 65 cm or 10 inches to 26 inches. With most drums measuring 35 cm to 45 cm or 14 inch 18 inches. The depth of the drum may range from 9 cm to 20 cm.

The bodhrán is 1⁄2 inches 8 inches in depth. A goatskin head is tacked to one side, synthetic heads or other animal skins are sometimes used. The other side is open-ended for one hand to be placed against the inside of the drum head to control the pitch and timbre.

Citations: Bibliography: Websites:

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