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Bodhrain tuning.

Gurney 30 Jun 09 - 03:06 AM
Dave Hanson 30 Jun 09 - 06:27 AM
manitas_at_work 30 Jun 09 - 07:36 AM
Raggytash 30 Jun 09 - 07:49 AM
Stu 30 Jun 09 - 07:53 AM
Stu 30 Jun 09 - 08:00 AM
GUEST,Russ 30 Jun 09 - 11:20 AM
manitas_at_work 30 Jun 09 - 11:27 AM
GUEST,Russ 30 Jun 09 - 11:28 AM
Barry Finn 30 Jun 09 - 12:07 PM
Uncle_DaveO 30 Jun 09 - 12:11 PM
wysiwyg 30 Jun 09 - 12:13 PM
Jack Campin 30 Jun 09 - 02:34 PM
GUEST,leeneia 30 Jun 09 - 04:20 PM
GUEST,leeneia 30 Jun 09 - 04:29 PM
gnu 30 Jun 09 - 04:29 PM
gnu 30 Jun 09 - 04:43 PM
Effsee 30 Jun 09 - 11:08 PM
Gurney 01 Jul 09 - 01:36 AM
Gurney 01 Jul 09 - 03:00 AM
Stu 01 Jul 09 - 04:01 AM
Jack Blandiver 01 Jul 09 - 04:55 AM
gnu 01 Jul 09 - 05:04 AM
GUEST,leeneia 01 Jul 09 - 11:58 AM
John P 01 Jul 09 - 01:20 PM
Jack Campin 01 Jul 09 - 02:47 PM
Pulseroom 01 Jul 09 - 03:01 PM
GUEST,Bass Harmony 01 Jul 09 - 03:04 PM
gnu 01 Jul 09 - 03:13 PM
GUEST 01 Jul 09 - 03:21 PM
Gurney 01 Jul 09 - 04:54 PM
Stu 02 Jul 09 - 07:23 AM
goatfell 02 Jul 09 - 06:40 PM
gnu 02 Jul 09 - 06:51 PM
Mr Red 04 Jul 09 - 03:17 AM
Mr Red 04 Jul 09 - 06:10 AM
Mr Red 04 Jul 09 - 06:17 AM
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Subject: Bodhrain tuning.
From: Gurney
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 03:06 AM

What, please, is the normal tuning without pressure? I want to pick a key accompanied by a slack-skin drum sound.

'Geronimo's Cadillac,' not that it matters.


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 06:27 AM

Just crank it up till it bursts, then it will sound OK.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 07:36 AM

D would be useful for major key tunes, E for minor.


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: Raggytash
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 07:49 AM

Traditionally tuned by a musician using a craft knife


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: Stu
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 07:53 AM

Bodhran tuning? Great oxymoron!


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: Stu
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 08:00 AM

Seriously, I don't believe you can pick a key to [play with a slack drum sound - you could play in any key so it might be best to go with what sounds right.


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 11:20 AM

I'll admit that I don't get out much, but I've never seen a bodhrain with anything that I recognized as tuning devices. I play banjo but I've never seen brackets on a bodhrain.

The players I know have spray bottles of water that they'll use if they think the head is too tight. Perhaps they also carry hair dryers if they think the head is too slack.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 11:27 AM

There are loads of bodhrans with tuning devices on the market. The tuning keys (sometimes levers) are normally inside the frame where they wouldn't be noticed on first glance.


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 11:28 AM

manitas,

Thanks for the update.
It's been a while since I was in the presence of a bodhrain.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: Barry Finn
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 12:07 PM

For Bodhrans with Tuning rings made by Mance Grady click "enter this site" then click on 'options' also check out his sliding bar.

Tune to your personnal preference. Some folks like a drum sound that's deep & low others just the oppsite & some are some where in between. Ask for feed back from the other musicians if you're not sure. After awhile you'll find what pleases you & the other most. Listen to what you like when other drummers are playing.

Good luck

Barry


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 12:11 PM

To tune a bodhrain, you begin by taking a sharp knife and trimming away the superfluous "I".

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: wysiwyg
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 12:13 PM

A banjo is a bodhran with a neck. The one who does the thumping sets the tone.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: Jack Campin
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 02:34 PM

Upmarket bodhrans do have tuners, like those on Turkish metal darbukas.

I'm not quite sure what bodhranists are aiming at when they retune. The sound they usually prefer is a dull thud - i.e. they detune enough that no definite pitch is perceptible, but leaving enough tension on the skin to get a reasonably loud sound. This is quite different from what most Middle Eastern frame drum players do - they either select the drum or tune it to get the highest, pingiest sound possible. This goes along with a different philosophy about what the drum is for. In a Middle Eastern band, it drives the whole ensemble; the drummer is effectively the conductor. (In Sufi music, the kettledrum has the central role, and is understood to be a metaphor for the creative energy of God). But bodhranists seem to want to produce such a vague, blurry sound that they could never take the lead and nobody listening could ever tell when they made a mistake. It's an aesthetic of timidity. What do they get out of this?


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 04:20 PM

You don't tune a bodhran to a key. When people talk about 'a tuneable bodhran' they are referring to one which has mechanisms for adjusting the tension of the skin to get a good tone. Bodhran skins are rawhide, and they lose and absorb water from the atmosphere.

When you pick up a bodhran, listen to the sound of it. If it tintinabulates, producing high-pitched sounds like a cymbal, then the skin is too dry and tight. Rub in a little water, being sure to dampen every millimetre of the surface. (Dry spots will stay tight and might tear.)

If the skin is too damp, it becomes loose and floppy, and the tone when you hit it is a dull thud. I have yet to hear of a really good way to improve this situation. Perhaps a hair dryer, applied gently and evenly from arm's length. Prevention is probably the best thing.

The ideal sound is a rich, warm boom. Listen to talented players till you hear that sound and aim for it.


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 04:29 PM

As I said, a rich, warm boom.

Like this

---------------------link fixed. Mudelf-----------------


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: gnu
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 04:29 PM

Ah... Gurney said... " I want to pick a key accompanied by a slack-skin drum sound."

Anyone care to answer his question? Perhaps a musician might address it?


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: gnu
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 04:43 PM

For what it's worth, a Low D whistle always sounds good with a deep Hran tone. I don't know how this might relate to other instuments, on accounta I just bang on a drum and am not a real musician.


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: Effsee
Date: 30 Jun 09 - 11:08 PM

Tune it? You can't even spell it!


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: Gurney
Date: 01 Jul 09 - 01:36 AM

Bodhrain and bodhran have both been used on this forum. I looked up previous threads for the spelling, because the instrument is NOT in my Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music.

Mind you, neither is Clarionet, and I've seen that spelling somewhere, too.


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: Gurney
Date: 01 Jul 09 - 03:00 AM

The sound I was hoping for was the slow 'bam-bam-bam-BAM-bam-bam-bam-BAM' that we associate with Red Indians/Native Americans, thanks to Hollywood. Even tempo with the fourth beat amplified, deep, slack sounding drum.
Not the arpeggio effect that is more usual with Irish music, nor the metallic sound of Mylar.

D sounds to be the go, thanks Manitas and Gnu.


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: Stu
Date: 01 Jul 09 - 04:01 AM

"because the instrument is NOT in my Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music"

What more can be said?


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 01 Jul 09 - 04:55 AM

There's a quite few nifty young bodhran players around right now; I was very impressed with the playing of Naimh Boadle last last year at Fylde, who, although the Hran (when did that one come in?) isn't her main thing, accompanied her sister with both musical subtlety and quite stunning rhythmic authority. I'm sure she's not alone in this as whenever I hear a bodhran these days, I tend to hear great playing - in this neck of the woods certainly, and not just among the young either. I've noticed there's a fashion for smaller drums with deeper frames, played with compound beaters (tippers, whatever) that look like a bunch of meat skewers lashed together. Will Lang from Park Bench Social Club is a very fine player too...

And when are we going to see the back of these dreary old bodhran / banjo in-jokes which weren't even funny 30 years ago when I first heard them? Every time my wife takes out her banjo we hear the same old shit that invariably occurs in Mudcat threads; the difference being, that in folk clubs this ritualised litany is accompanied by gales of laughter, which really sets the mood for an evening of enlightened music making!

One wonders, do young Hran players carry on this tradition of devaluing their rhythmic heritage by subjecting their instruments to such humour? One would hope not.


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: gnu
Date: 01 Jul 09 - 05:04 AM

Suibhne O'Piobaireachd... Re "Hran", I believe it was the famous Canadian Hranist, humourist, philosopher, etc, gnu.

Hran on eh!


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 01 Jul 09 - 11:58 AM

'The sound I was hoping for was the slow 'bam-bam-bam-BAM-bam-bam-bam-BAM' that we associate with Red Indians/Native Americans'

Gurney, have you ever been to a pow-pow? That sound is produced by a drum maybe 6 feet across, and 24 inches high, with 6 or so men playing at once.


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: John P
Date: 01 Jul 09 - 01:20 PM

I've never understood the usefulness of a tunable bodhran. The head changes tension in response to relatively small changes of humidity or temperature, changes which will be caused by pressing your hand against the back of the drum and beating on it. I always just start with the drum tuned low and get the appropriate pitch with hand pressure. If the drum needs to be tuned down, put some water on the head. If it's too low already, hold it up a light bulb and it tightens right up. No need to spend time fooling around with a wrench, and it can be at any pitch you want it at, instantly.


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: Jack Campin
Date: 01 Jul 09 - 02:47 PM

A lot of American Indian drums are double-skinned frame drums, about the same diameter as a bodhran but with a thinner frame. The thinner the frame, the more power you get. They're intended to be audible over a range of miles. I've never seen anything like that for sale (it would be as welcome in the average session as a randy bull moose), but there is an old book reprinted by Dover that tells you how to make them - it has "Drums and Rattles" in the title.

You might try a very large bendir (Mevlevi dervish single-skin frame drum) from a Middle Eastern musical instrument supplier. It won't sound like the real thing but it might sound like what your audience thinks the real thing would sound like.

Technique matters as much as the drum, you will not get the sound you want with a bodhran tipper. Bare hands or a heavy single-ended stick, maybe a sponge-headed timpani beater.


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: Pulseroom
Date: 01 Jul 09 - 03:01 PM

Have a look here, probably all you need to know and very helpful people who make it their business.

http://www.belgarth.com/index.html


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: GUEST,Bass Harmony
Date: 01 Jul 09 - 03:04 PM

Gurney. Bodhrain jokes,I've heard em all. I bought a Bodhrain at a festival 30 years ago and now I am a professional musician touring and playing with the best( Not as a drummer though). If you are playing with real musicians they will help you tune to them. Believe you me a good drummer can make a good musician sound great.Personally if I use a drum now, I leave enough slack to "Tune" with the ball of the hand I am using to hold the thing as I play.
Dont put water on it, you can ruin the skin, especially if it is a good drum and if you have a tunable skin you shouldn't need to put any thing on it. Keep it in the case when you are not using it and it should be fine. Keep practicing and your ear will develop. All the silly comments usually come from Guitarists who know three chords or melodian players who cant cross rows and haven't found the air button yet.
Keep practicing , If it sounds bad learn from that, if it sounds good, store that and improve.
If we ever meet I will tell you the Drummers revenge Joke. It's all about Gynecologists and may not be appropriate here.
Oh yeah and go and see fluke and if you live in the North West Like me. look out for Full House and their drummer Mark Wooley.
Dunkata Dunkata Dunk.


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: gnu
Date: 01 Jul 09 - 03:13 PM

John P... ahhh, therein lies the rub. I can keep my tunable supple with wax and tune it any way I want without messing with water and heat.

A light bulb? When I am at a session and I need my non-tunable tightened RFN, a light bulb just don't cut the grass... a hair blow- drier is the modern tech! I keep one in the big case at all times.

Well, I used to. Besides the oint... nevermind.

BTW.... water, heat, water, heat... the skin can tear at the tacks.... not good.


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Jul 09 - 03:21 PM

Message didn't seem to go the last time apologies if it comes twice.Check out Zoox. Their drummer is fantastic on many instruments including the Bodhrain . They come from the south coast somewhere and run workshops. Check their web site. Played with them at Middlewich two weeks ago. Brilliant!


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: Gurney
Date: 01 Jul 09 - 04:54 PM

Leeneia, "Thanks to Hollywood." Nearest I ever came to a Pow-Wow is four hours wait at L.A.International. I was English, now I'm Kiwi.
Interesting concept, though. I've seen the Chinese equivalent.

I'm sometimes in the company of several Bodhrain/an players, and I wanted to spring a surprise invitation on them. The song sounds a bit thin to me without the drumbeat.

I once saw (and heard!) a extemporaneous drum duet, Bodhrain and Snare. Very loud.


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: Stu
Date: 02 Jul 09 - 07:23 AM

"If we ever meet I will tell you the Drummers revenge Joke. It's all about Gynecologists and may not be appropriate here."

You can't do that! Let's hear it. Anyone easily offended can go to another thread.

As for bodhran jokes, they come with the territory. I played bodhran for many years before moving to an instrument you can tune and it's a sad fact that many bodhran players are more than a tad insensitive, especially in sessions. The best way to get around this is to not conform to the stereotype and play sensitively, as an accompanist. The good ones are always a joy and can really add to the lift of a session and they work very well in groups.

Since I started playing there has been a revolution in bodhran technique and the likes of John Joe Kelly of Flook and many of his contemporaries now play top-end style with bamboo barbecue skewers rather than the more traditional Kerry style with a double-ended stick and there are thousands of John-Joe wannabees out there doing excellent impressions of gurgling taps. This might be fine for groups (I saw John-Joe with Moonlighting last year and he was mighty) but in all truth sounds gash in sessions.

I suspect this is because the players forget the most simple rule (of Irish traditional music), that the tune is the key. The tune is everything, and it gets complete precedence and deserves the utmost respect. Whilst other accompanying instruments like bouzouki or guitar take their cue entirely from the tune in both rhythm and the notes/chords played and can 'colour' a tune, the bodhran player has an altogether more difficult job. To accompany a tune really effectively you must know it inside out (be able to lilt it for example). The tune itself will hold the rhythm, the melody player will dictate the speed and so a bodhran player must not impose their own rhythm or speed which I think is very difficult (my best mate, who is a very experienced player can do this brilliantly). Most importantly, the accompaniment should never ever distract from the tune, which is the focus. Can this be done with plippity-plippty plop plop bodhran playing? Never in a session, possibly in a group IMHO.

It's entirely subjective of course, but since I hardly play anymore and have taken up bouzouki and whistle I have come to like the simpler old styles of playing. My current favourite clip is of Jack Cooley accompanying his brother the genius Joe (and Des Mulkere on banjo) playing a few weeks before Joe died in this clip here. Jack's playing an old-style bodhran with jingles and he never takes a note away from the brilliance of Joe and Des, allowing Joe to take the tune on wherever he pleases without distraction.

That is excellent bodhran playing.


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: goatfell
Date: 02 Jul 09 - 06:40 PM

Another oxymoron is banjo tuning


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: gnu
Date: 02 Jul 09 - 06:51 PM

Up down up down up, with a hard beat.


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: Mr Red
Date: 04 Jul 09 - 03:17 AM

The tuning of the bodhran is not the issue.

Hitting a natural skin is putting energy into it and not all comes out as audible sound. If you bend a piece of metal gets hot. the same principle applies to goats skin, and as the skin warms it dries and tension alters. This is a logical anaysis based on an engineers observation.

The issue is can you play in a way to enhance the music. Not so loud the banjo player objects (***BG**) and with a rhythm that is interesting, and that means how where and when you might miss notes, use the off-beat, use of a brush (I use one in various ways) or leather covered beater.

But as I usually say as I sit down "I tune because I CARE".


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: Mr Red
Date: 04 Jul 09 - 06:10 AM

Just returned surfing at the public library. Having had problems with this page on the resident IE6 I decided to load FF3.5 onto my memory stick. A lot of silly surveilance problems seem to be locking-up the pC with Multimap and this thread. FF seems to be OK.

Now - Bodhran beaters.
I use one mostly that suits my physiology, however I hold it between my index and next finger. All have a feature in the middle (three or four pointed) that the inside of the knuckle sits against, allowing a fairly loose grip. Tripples are not easy or natural, I don't.
But it puts my wrist joint straight which is less tiring. I arrived at the most preferred (?correct?) "flick" by accident, which is a rotation of the forarm between elbow and wrist. The wrist does not move appreciably.
The control the method confers allows for faster play compensating for lack of tripples but it allows fast response to stop or start, change, rim, etc IMHO.
It also allows me to hold three beaters in one hand - if I really wanted to show off. Rim shots are then more interesting (tripples?).

My principle brush (ignoring the washing-up brush!) is as long as a normal beater but mostly bristles. As a beater it has whip, which is very effective if anticipated. But mostly I use it as a snare and it is not that difficult to control - I lift or apply as the mood takes me, even for one beat or A to B music. little and next finger controls the bend on the bristles and hence the snare effect.
I bought it from a stall at Beverley FF who were resident in "something" on Soar in the UK. Can't find them now. Will try at Towersey & or Sidmouth. But would like to purchase a back-up - any ideas anyone.


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Subject: RE: Bodhrain tuning.
From: Mr Red
Date: 04 Jul 09 - 06:17 AM

Just remembered the Drummer/Gynaecologists' joke, very funny. Kills the pleasure for those that tell bodhran jokes.

Martin Brinsford told it to me and he is the foremost ceilidh drummer in the UK, IMNSHO. And in "Brass Monkey" he plays the mouth organ at the same time. AND he plays in my local session. A really nice guy to boot.


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