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Folklore: Tabwrdd or Tabor info

GUEST,Dr Price 16 Jan 06 - 08:03 AM
sian, west wales 17 Jan 06 - 07:54 AM
greg stephens 17 Jan 06 - 08:16 AM
GUEST,Dr Price 19 Jan 06 - 10:27 AM
GUEST,Dr Price 21 Jan 06 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,Alun Ponting 24 Mar 16 - 07:15 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Tabwrdd or Tabor info
From: GUEST,Dr Price
Date: 16 Jan 06 - 08:03 AM

I am writing an article for Taplas, the folk magazine for Wales, on the tabwrdd, the ancient North Wales drum which goes back approximately 700 years. Does anyone have information, items of interest, stories etc, about this mysterious and wonderful instrument?

Ceri Rhys Matthews and Cass Meurig, both of the visionary Welsh group fernhill, researched the tabwrdd, and Newport instrument makers Marcus Music constructed it for them. Marcus Music also made one for me, as well.

I play the tabwrdd for two dance teams, Dawnswyr Glanllwyd (Cwmbran) and Gwerinwyr Gwent (Newport). Both teams are impressed with the instrument, saying the crisp drumming enhances the music (this is reminiscent of the Breton visionary Roland Becker, who revolutionised Breton dance with added drum.) Last Saturday in Cardiff, for Yr Hen Nos Galan (the old Welsh new year), I played in a 'scratch' band with other notable musicians, including Mike Greenwood, Iolo Jones, Gareth Westacott, Sîan Gruffudd and Olly Price, all of whom complemented me on the sound of the tabwrdd.

The tabwrdd is smaller than its sophisticated Irish cousin, the bodrhan, but larger than the English tabor. I would much appreciate any information you can give – by Thursday, please! Taplas deadlines cannot wait!

Mick Tems

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Tabwrdd or Tabor info
From: sian, west wales
Date: 17 Jan 06 - 07:54 AM

Hope you have some luck with Dave Petersen (as per email). I'm surprised that no one here has come up with anything. Yet.



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Subject: RE: Folklore: Tabwrdd or Tabor info
From: greg stephens
Date: 17 Jan 06 - 08:16 AM

The tabwrdd is smaller than a bodhran, but bigger than an English tabor.
What does this statement mean, Mick? That someone has recently built an instrument of a certain size, and called it a tabwrdd? Or is theeir some historical evidence of the comparative sizes of drums of this kind in use in Wales, Ireland, and England at various sttages in history? For example, the "English tabor" as recreated and used in Morris sides, etc, is smaller than the Irish bodhrans recreated and used in Irish trad bands. But if we wind back a century or two, were the flat drums used in England actually smaller than the flat drums used in Ireland(both normally called tambourines atthat time). And what about the flat drums in Wales, say 1800? What evidence? Can someone provide some pointers to this, we have had many discussions here about the bodhran, and its etymological and musical history, so some Welsh background would be invaluable. At the very simplest level, are we talking about a drum like a bodhran/tambourine, or like a tabor? They are very different instruments. Please point us to some text or pictures, this is most interesting.

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Tabwrdd or Tabor info
From: GUEST,Dr Price
Date: 19 Jan 06 - 10:27 AM

I'm sorry I neglected this thread, but I was following up other clues concerning the tabwrdd. There's a pic of the tabwrdd on , but info is pretty scarce.

Sîan, thanks a lot for the help on David Petersen; for those who don't know, he is an artist/blacksmith who lives in West Wales and is on the committee of the gigantic Lorient Interceltic Festival. David has an interest in the tabwrdd – he says that a tabwrdd was a signalling drum, not a marching drum. He entered the eisteddfod with a dancer, the purpose being to communicate; he would tap out a bar with his tabwrdd, and the dancer would "answer" with his feet. The eisteddfod judges went spare. The demanded evidence that the tabwrdd was a Welsh instrument, which David took back to D Roy Saer, keeper at the Museum Of Welsh Life. Roy couldn't believe his eyes, and handed the judges overwhelming proof that the tabwrdd was a folk instrument. The dancer entered the competition again, and won it twice.

Greg, all I am saying is that from time immemorial, the earliest folk instrument was a drum, something to beat out a message. The North Wales tabwrdd existed 700 years ago, much as the English tabor was extant 1,000 years ago. The Welsh 'tabwrdd' and the English 'tabor' both come from the French 'tambour', a word which goes back to the Persian 'tabîr'. The Welsh pronounced it 'tabwrdd' (bwrdd means a board or table, which describes the drum as something you could have a meal off!) Its Northern origins had become spread out, because Roy Saer says there was a tabwrdd player who was living in Llandeilo in the 18th century.
Sorry about the lack of pictures, but I have a problem with my digi-camera – I could email you some pictures of the tabwrdd which Marcus Music made for me (to an ancient design which Ceri Rhys Matthews and Cass Meurig researched.) I don't know if this is allowed, but could I have your e-address, please?

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Tabwrdd or Tabor info
From: GUEST,Dr Price
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 12:39 PM

Latest news: I'm about to write my tabwrdd article which I hope will be done tonight. Roy Saer (ex-keeper of The Museum Of Welsh Life) sent me some very valuable and highly-informative information about the tabwrdd, which I don't have the time to copy here - so here goes!

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Subject: RE: Folklore: Tabwrdd or Tabor info
From: GUEST,Alun Ponting
Date: 24 Mar 16 - 07:15 AM

Just came across this page after (as a Welsh speaker) the owner of this property asked me what the name Bodran meant - possibly something of further research interest to you?

The actual property address is Bodran Felin, Llanpumsaint SA33 6BY, United Kingdom (no idea if original name?)

Felin - Welsh for 'mill'

...perhaps it's more likely that historically this is a family name tied to the property or area, I don't know...but what chance Bodran is a Welsh mutation/ spelling of Bodhran, and this was once a location where (materials for?) these instruments were made..?

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