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All About Bodhráns

All About Bodhráns

Katie Rhodes |

What is a Bodhrán?

Good question! The bodhrán is a type of musical drum that features a wood frame and stretched goatskin or synthetic covering. They are typically 18 inches in diameter. They have a look that is a cross between a tambourine and a bongo drum.

How you pronounce Bodhrán?

Bow-rawn is the correct pronunciation with a long o in the word bow.

When and where did they originate?

The origin of the bodhrán is arguable. Some claim Africa while others say Asia. Whatever the truth may be, it was the Irish that popularized it and made it their own during the 18th century. Here, the drums were used for both musical performances as well as in war battles.

How do you play the Bodhrán?

There are a couple of different methods. First, you can use the palm of your hand, your knuckles, or your fingers. The second option—which is more commonly seen—is to use a stick. This is very similar to a drumstick, except that many of the bodhrán sticks are double-headed. One head keeps a steady beat while the other produces acoustic rolls. These double-headed sticks are referred to as cipins or tippers.

Are they still used in Irish music?

Yes! Bodhráns retain their historical significance while still remaining relevant in Irish music today. You will often see them played with Irish folk groups.

Where can I get my own Bodhrán?

Creative Irish Gifts offers this handcrafted version that features real goatskin, fine wood, and a Celtic cross design. The bodhrán comes with a hardwood stick for playing.