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Bodhran history???

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Clinton Hammond 25 Apr 02 - 02:01 PM
Les Jones 25 Apr 02 - 02:23 PM
catspaw49 25 Apr 02 - 02:36 PM
Mr Red 25 Apr 02 - 02:44 PM
Wincing Devil 25 Apr 02 - 02:50 PM
catspaw49 25 Apr 02 - 03:25 PM
PeteBoom 25 Apr 02 - 04:04 PM
GUEST,Philippa 25 Apr 02 - 05:52 PM
MartinRyan 25 Apr 02 - 06:00 PM
Malcolm Douglas 25 Apr 02 - 08:57 PM
catspaw49 25 Apr 02 - 09:20 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 25 Apr 02 - 09:56 PM
Hrothgar 26 Apr 02 - 02:44 AM
open mike 26 Apr 02 - 03:32 AM
GUEST,Boab 26 Apr 02 - 04:26 AM
GUEST,An Pluiméir Ceolmhar 26 Apr 02 - 12:46 PM
Clinton Hammond 26 Apr 02 - 03:45 PM
GUEST,Once Beaten 26 Apr 02 - 03:49 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 26 Apr 02 - 05:24 PM
pavane 26 Apr 02 - 06:39 PM
Clinton Hammond 26 Apr 02 - 09:25 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 26 Apr 02 - 10:02 PM
Clinton Hammond 27 Apr 02 - 01:08 PM
gnu 28 Apr 02 - 04:40 AM
GUEST,Bardford 28 Apr 02 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,greg stephens 29 Apr 02 - 09:28 AM
MartinRyan 29 Apr 02 - 10:02 AM
GUEST,An Pluiméier Ceolmhar 29 Apr 02 - 10:04 AM
greg stephens 29 Apr 02 - 10:56 AM
gnu 29 Apr 02 - 11:32 AM
GUEST,Pluiméir Ceolmhar 29 Apr 02 - 12:33 PM
GUEST,skelly 29 Apr 02 - 01:05 PM
MartinRyan 29 Apr 02 - 02:44 PM
Big Mick 29 Apr 02 - 04:40 PM
Snuffy 29 Apr 02 - 07:18 PM
Snuffy 29 Apr 02 - 07:47 PM
Mr Red 29 Apr 02 - 07:49 PM
MartinRyan 30 Apr 02 - 02:52 AM
Big Mick 30 Apr 02 - 03:07 AM
GUEST,greg stephens 30 Apr 02 - 06:18 AM
GUEST,macca 30 Apr 02 - 06:24 AM
GUEST,An Pluiméir Ceolmhar 30 Apr 02 - 06:37 AM
GUEST,greg stephens 30 Apr 02 - 06:40 AM
GUEST,I'll get my coat............. 30 Apr 02 - 07:21 AM
GUEST,macca 30 Apr 02 - 06:28 PM
Guessed 08 Aug 02 - 10:50 AM
GUEST,JTT 08 Aug 02 - 12:07 PM
Clinton Hammond 08 Aug 02 - 01:59 PM
fenman 08 Aug 02 - 03:51 PM
Clinton Hammond 08 Aug 02 - 04:14 PM
Mr Red 11 Jan 03 - 08:45 AM
Little Robyn 11 Jan 03 - 04:22 PM
Mr Red 13 Jan 03 - 05:21 AM
Mr Red 17 Jul 03 - 02:43 PM
Malcolm Douglas 17 Jul 03 - 03:55 PM
Mr Red 17 Jul 03 - 08:03 PM
Malcolm Douglas 17 Jul 03 - 10:36 PM
Mr Red 18 Jul 03 - 01:26 PM
Torctgyd 12 May 05 - 06:23 AM
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Bob Bolton 12 May 05 - 08:18 PM
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Boab 13 May 05 - 03:17 AM
GUEST,guset 24 Aug 06 - 10:07 AM
The Fooles Troupe 25 Aug 06 - 07:50 AM
Tattie Bogle 25 Aug 06 - 05:42 PM
GUEST,Jack Campin 25 Aug 06 - 06:50 PM
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Subject: Bodhran history???
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 25 Apr 02 - 02:01 PM

Some folks claim it's hundreds of years old and was played in war settings... some claim it's a relatively recent adjustment to a tool once used to separate wheat from chaff...

Any good scholarly opinions out there, with credible sources?


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Les Jones
Date: 25 Apr 02 - 02:23 PM

I am fascinated to know.

In the meantime I offer this:

Cider was first invented as paint stripper but as nobody had invented paint people decided to drink it instead.

Surely this must be true?


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 Apr 02 - 02:36 PM

Try This

or

This one

or perhaps

This which is kinda' funny....and a Good Point!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Mr Red
Date: 25 Apr 02 - 02:44 PM

What about Tambours? As in Tambourine.
I don't know how they played them but from france through Spain to Morroco & Algieria such single skin, short barrel drums are common. With or without cymbals.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Wincing Devil
Date: 25 Apr 02 - 02:50 PM

DAMN I missread the thread name, I thought it was "Bodhran IS history", which would be joyous news all-around

P.S. Lynn: I'm only joking! Please don't kill me with a Bodhran whacker.

P.P.S. Exactly what to you call that thing you beat a bodhran with?


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 Apr 02 - 03:25 PM

You call it a "tipper" and that one is loaded with possibilities, most of which I've used around here at one point or another.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: PeteBoom
Date: 25 Apr 02 - 04:04 PM

The tambour, tambourin (no e) and bodhran are frame drums comporable to frame drums from around the world. The jingles on the tambourine (with an e) are a *relatively* recent addition in a structured music sense. (Used to play percussion in a symphony when in college/university... actually took lessons on playing the tambourine...)

The age and lineage of the bodhran is, frankly, indefinite. I've seen scholarly studies going both ways about "it is centuries old" and "it is recent". What is certain is that it was revived, knowingly, in the '50's. I know SOME hard-core traditionalists who swear that the bodhran has no place in true tradtional Irish music, and none at all in Scottish music. Of course, they also despise other recent innovations - the guitar, piano and button accordions and keyed flutes.

I suspect it is because most of them are academic types who dislike the rural associations with the drum - e.g., wren boys.

Ah well - I used to be an academic type, too, then quit working for universities after 6 years and went back to the real world.

Ah well -

Pete


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 25 Apr 02 - 05:52 PM

resembles the Bendir (Morocco). also similar drums in Eastern Europe - one i heard referred to as a tambour (bigger than tambourine and no bells).
another history article is at http://www.scottish-irish.com/html/bodhran.html


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: MartinRyan
Date: 25 Apr 02 - 06:00 PM

For what it's worth, P W Joyce's 1910 book English as we speak it in Ireland gives the word, with the agricultural use first and says sometimes used as a rude tambourine

Regards


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 25 Apr 02 - 08:57 PM

There seems to be little evidence that the bodhran is of any great age, except as an agricultural implement, occasionally pressed into service as a noise-maker by Wren Boys and the like. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the tambourine was very popular in both Ireland and England, and was played in both countries much as the bodhran is now; with a double-headed stick, or with the knuckles. In both countries, that popularity was probably mainly due to the "Ethiopian" minstrel shows that came over from America. Prior to the tambourine, the tabor was the drum of choice, in England at any rate. The Lambeg, like the tabor, is a double-headed drum, probably unrelated to either tambourine or bodhran.

That isn't going to stop the "new age Celts" fantasising about marching to war with their bodhrans and uilleann pipes (and probably didgeridoos), covered in woad and "tribal" tatoos and wearing nice colourful tartans, of course.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 Apr 02 - 09:20 PM

"Rude Tambourine"...........Now ya' gotta' love that one!!!

I particularly enjoyed the thoughts on the third site I linked above. Considering how much music of the southern mountains is of Irish origin, it had never occurred to me before that the bodhran is missing, completely unknown as it were in the music. Only makes sense though doesn't it?

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Apr 02 - 09:56 PM

Exactly when the Irish stole the instrument from the Inuit (Eskimo) must have been at the time of Brendan's voyage to the New World.
Seriously, this type of percussion drum is widespread and it has a long history. How long have the Irish have had it ? No old data, a tall, a tall. It is related to the tambours of Africa and Asia, brought across the Behring Strait to the New World by the Inuit, but that doesn't answer the "Irish Question."
The suppositions by Malcolm Douglas are as good as any. The development from an instrument to separate grain from chaff is possible, and may explain the tambours, but the development from the minstrel show's tambourine seems more logical for the Irish version.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Hrothgar
Date: 26 Apr 02 - 02:44 AM

The Irish don't just march to war with it - they use it as an offensive weapon.

It does tend to be more offensive than weapon.......

:-)


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: open mike
Date: 26 Apr 02 - 03:32 AM

the stick you play it with is also called a beater or a tripper....the skin is usuallymade of goat hide, but if it made from dog skin it is called a bow wow ron..


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 26 Apr 02 - 04:26 AM

As old as the Titanic---I saw it being played on yon film just before the ship went down----- Does it really matter where it came from or how it developed? A well-made bodhran played well when it SHOULD be played--and left mute when it shouldn't--can be an asset to any band, and not only celtic on occasion.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: GUEST,An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 26 Apr 02 - 12:46 PM

The second link in Spaw's posting contains a sidebar quote from Eamon de Buitléar which I can confirm, having been around at the time.

The featuring of the bodhrán in "Sive" aroused considerable comment in Dublin at the time, as it had probably hardly ever been heard outside Kerry. My Irish teacher (who retired in 1965 and was therefore presumably born in 1900) was a Kerryman who explained to my class that the bodhrán was used by the wren boys, who go from farm to farm on St Stephen's day dressed up and playing music in exchange for drinks. It was not commonly used in traditional music at the time outside this context, notwithstanding occasional appearances in recordings as identified in the link referred to.

It was in fact de Buitléar himself who, by his playing of the bodhrán in Ceoltóirí Cualann, the embryonic Chieftains, did more than anyone else to popularise the bodhrán.

It's an instrument that gets a hard time, as we all know, but the very fact that it has been able to establish itself is to me proof that the tradition is alive and well, not stuck in a jar of academic or nationalist formaldehyde. The same is true of the bouzouki, introduced in the late sixties by Johnny Moynihan and/or Andy Irvine and/or Donal Lunny and/or Mick Moloney (delete as appropriate).


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 26 Apr 02 - 03:45 PM

"Does it really matter where it came from or how it developed?"

Well, not really I guess... but I am curious none the less...

I'm also a bit of a stickler from time to time for accuracy... Most of the stuff that I'd read about the hran said that it's recent... and when I hear people say that it's centuries old.. well, I'm forced to chime in...

Kinda like when some dullards say that druids build Stonehenge... They're just pure D wrong...

Looks like the short answer to the bodhran history question is, "We don't know..."


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: GUEST,Once Beaten
Date: 26 Apr 02 - 03:49 PM

Do you think the name might be derived from tamBOURine rather than from Bodhar?


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Apr 02 - 05:24 PM

It comes from bodice- When the instrument is heard, the Irish are driven to ripping the bodices......!


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: pavane
Date: 26 Apr 02 - 06:39 PM

As stated above, very similar drums are played in many places the Middle East, but just by slapping with the hand, not a stick. I saw evidence of them both in Saudi Arabia and in the UAE (on TV, not first-hand!)


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 26 Apr 02 - 09:25 PM

Most cultures on earth, have at one time or another played simple frame drums like the bodhran...

The Bodhran is really (to me at any rate) only very intersting if it turns out to be a more 'modern' invention...


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Apr 02 - 10:02 PM

My daughter has obtained the Plains Indian version for a movie shoot. More of a job to make them than you would think. Quite a job curing the hide, setting up the frame, fitting and stretching it on the frame, using properly prepared sinew, etc, etc. An Indian friend of hers at a nearby reserve makes good ones (of course called "hand drums" rather than tambour or bodhran or whatever).


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 27 Apr 02 - 01:08 PM

Ya... I bet they'd be kinda fun to make though...


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: gnu
Date: 28 Apr 02 - 04:40 AM

I think the Irish Gaelic for tipper is "ciapan"... anyone know the "English" pronunciation ?


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: GUEST,Bardford
Date: 28 Apr 02 - 01:14 PM

Gnu - I've seen 'ciapan' spelled as 'cipin' and pronounced 'kipeen'. The tipper has also been called 'that stick thingy'.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: GUEST,greg stephens
Date: 29 Apr 02 - 09:28 AM

the derivation of the word from "tambourine" seems more likely than the gaelic etymologies which have been provided: like "craic", the word "bodhran" owes more to the irish tourist industry than to history, as far as i can see. But I'd be delighted to have old Irish versions of the words produced to prove me wrong. What drum words are used in the earliest Irish bibles, anyone know?


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: MartinRyan
Date: 29 Apr 02 - 10:02 AM

Greg

I've often wondered about the "tambourine" possibility, also. However - the word "bodhrán" was definitely in Irish before tourists took any interest! Off the top of my head, Dineen (late 19C / early 20 C.) has it - and Joyce's gloss, given above, confirms it. SO I'm inclined to thinks it's happenstance!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: GUEST,An Pluiméier Ceolmhar
Date: 29 Apr 02 - 10:04 AM

Cipín is indeed the Irish name for the tipper (cue dirfting thread weave involving Mrs Al Gore and those lovely girls with the black hair). I haven't got a dictionary to hand, but from memory cipín is any small thin piece of wood, and the word is also used for a match or a spill (the latter being a slip of wood which you lit in the open fire to light a candle or a pipe).

There is a credible suggested etymology for bohdrán to mean "deafener", since bodhar means deaf, and -án is a common suffix for an appliance, device or machine (guthán = telephone, gluaisteán = motor car scríobhán = typewriter). That's just credibility, not absolute proof, but it's a lot more convincing than deriving the name from tambourine.

And while we're at it, I've seen people on Mudcat using the word "bodhranis" for practitioners (devotees, perpetrators?) of the bodhrán. The normal coining, if one were to follow the usual principles of word formation in Irish, would be to make it "bodhránaí" in the singular and "bodhránaithe" in the plural. Just thought I'd be pedantic and point that out. Pronunciation: bowRAUNee and bowRANiheh.

And while we're at it, whoever abbreviated it to 'hran above might note that the "h" belongs with the "d" and indicates that it's silent, so the diminutive really should be 'rán. Now there's an idea: keep a spray-can of paint handy when you're in a session, and if a bodhránaí whom you don't like starts playing, just spray a big "h" on the offending instrument and that'll make it silent. Whatever....


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: greg stephens
Date: 29 Apr 02 - 10:56 AM

The "deaf" part of the possible Irish origin of the word is interesting: the big bass drum in samba bands is called a "sordo" which I believe means deaf in Portuguese. It is popularly supposed that this refers to the fct that you dont really hearthe big basses close to, but you feel them as the sound develops at a distance, like a big bell. I was being flippant about avery modern tourist invention of the word: what I am suggesting is a modernish(last 200 years?) borrowing from English/French tambourine, with an extremely modern gaelicisation of the spelling to "bodhran"; the same thing that seems to have happened to crack/craic.This seems more likely than itbeing an older Irish word: but this could be settled easily if an old example of the word could be found..I am just talking here of the history of the name, not the history of the instrument: any culture whose agriculture uses seeds is going to have a drum shaped like this .Has a special name for "Low D whistle" been invented yet?


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: gnu
Date: 29 Apr 02 - 11:32 AM

Thanks Bardford and GUEST, APC (apologies for the abb'n). I truly appreciate it when people take the time to provide English "phonetics" for Gaelic.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: GUEST,Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 29 Apr 02 - 12:33 PM

It's a pleasure to be able to contribute what I can, gnu. From postings here and on Chiff and Fipple I can see that some people are really struggling with the pronunciation, and even some of the people who are trying to be helpful with a very limited knowledge of Irish are a bit off the beam. By the way, for me APC is "armoured personnel carrier", but no offence taken.

Like a true pedant, I realised after posting that I'd been inconsistent with the phonetics. The syllable RAUN is pronounced the same way in both singular and plural.

Which brings me to the low D. "Low" in Irish is íseal (pronounced "EE-shall"), so maybe there's a terrible pun to be made on the lines "Now you're suckin' D-íseal".


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: GUEST,skelly
Date: 29 Apr 02 - 01:05 PM

In Alan Lomax's World Library of Folk and Primitive Music, Volume 1: England, there is a recording made by Peter Kennedy in 1951 at a 'Village Barn Dance' in Dorset. The musicians are Bert Pidgeon on melodeon and Alfie Tuck on riddle drum.

The sleeve notes say: Melodeon and riddle drum (later known in Ireland as a bodhran) enliven the harvest gatherings of Wiltshire and Dorset. An 18-inch drum made from a worn-out riddle or sieve, is played by banging with a double-ended stick and also sounded by rubbing with the thumb along the parchment. The survival of this kind of farm-made drum pre-dates its survival in Galway, Ireland by about 15 years."

The last sentence doesn't actually make sense, but I think whoever wrote it might have meant that it had stopped being used traditionally in Ireland about 15 years before it died out in England.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: MartinRyan
Date: 29 Apr 02 - 02:44 PM

Dineen definitely relates it to "bodhar" (deaf) - even to citing "bodharán" as an alternative spelling. He gives the meanings as:

a deaf person; a person of indifferent hearing; an indistinct speaker; also a shallow skin-bottomed vessel, a dildurn, a drum; bodhrán mór, a big drum.

Regards

p.s. nice word, that dildurn !!


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Big Mick
Date: 29 Apr 02 - 04:40 PM

Not weighing in with an opinion, but I just received a book from Helen that I purchased through the auction. It is "The Dance Music of Willie Clancy" by Pat Mitchell. On page 9, which is the introduction to the book there is the following:

He learned step-dancing from Thady Casey who had danced barefoot to Garrett Barry's playing when a young boy. As well as being a dancing masdter, Thady played the fiddle and the tambourine, or bodhrán as it is now more commonly known.

He is describing Willie Clancy's childhood.

Just an FYI.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Snuffy
Date: 29 Apr 02 - 07:18 PM

APC, I think "bodhranis" is probably an extremely derogative term, like calling Scots "Haggistanis".

WassaiL! V


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Snuffy
Date: 29 Apr 02 - 07:47 PM

Derogative??? Try derogatory


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Mr Red
Date: 29 Apr 02 - 07:49 PM

Deafenitions is it?
Call me an anorak but I enjoy all this accedemic speculation for an instrument designed (ineffectually) to annoy the banjo player!
FWIW I had a beater made specially in walnut just so I could sucker people who were listening intently to my enthusiasm for this walnut tipper and tell them.... (wait for it)
"I only bring it for the crack".....
I'll get my coat......


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: MartinRyan
Date: 30 Apr 02 - 02:52 AM

Mick

Yes, it was often known as tambourine - especially when rattles (usually pot-patches) were set in the rim. Older players often used the rattle effect (complete with trick shots such as off the head!) but no stick. Fintan Vallely has some detail in his Companion to Irish Traditional Music.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Big Mick
Date: 30 Apr 02 - 03:07 AM

Thanks, Martin. You are always the source of solid information.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: GUEST,greg stephens
Date: 30 Apr 02 - 06:18 AM

I've been looking up words for drums and words for deaf and the situation is too complicated for me. Professional linguistic historians neededon this thread. Irish bodhar and Urdu behra both mean deaf. Sordo means drum and deaf.The b-r pattern occurs in drum words(bodhran tamborine tambour tabor), and is sometimes p-r(eg kurdish tapper-phonetic spelling, I asked a kurdish friend).English deaf doesnt seem to fit in at all at first glance, until you relate it to linguistic neighbours androots: and you find doof(Dutch) toup(Old HighGerman)taub (German). Which connects straight to the t-p or t-b pattern you find in tabor,tapper,tambour Interesting, huh?


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: GUEST,macca
Date: 30 Apr 02 - 06:24 AM

Has anyone else come across the Persian (central Asia anyway)version of the dear ould Irish drum. This is about 450 - 600mm across and say 50mm deep. It has a number of brass rings attached to the inside of the rim about two thirds of the way around, secured by staples so that they overlap and hang loose. Players hold the drum upright across the body in palms of both hands with fingers against skin, and tap and shake the drum. Rhythms can be very complex. Sounds fantastic in trained hands. Kind of like a grown-up tambourine with orchestral pretensions. Guess I'll just keep rattling away on the ordinary bodhrans.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: GUEST,An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 30 Apr 02 - 06:37 AM

And the circle is closed by "tipper" which also has the t-p-r pattern. Actually "dildurn" sounds as if it should refer to the tipper than to the drum ;-).

Imagine the confusion a few centuries from now when they try to figure all this out.

Greg is right when he says we need some expertise, there's an awful lot of speculative or outright spurious etymology out there on the web. When I discovered Indian music I wrongly assumed on the basis of an apparent etymological connection that the tanpura was the drums (actually tabla), not a stringed accompanying instrument.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: GUEST,greg stephens
Date: 30 Apr 02 - 06:40 AM

Macca, yes they are universally used from Tibet and Afghanistan right through to Turkey.I was playing with some Kurds last week and discussing this. When you get to eastern Europe the optional rings are replaced with optional flat metal jingles set in the rim. And they all make you go deaf if youre sat beside someone who's getting carried away!


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: GUEST,I'll get my coat.............
Date: 30 Apr 02 - 07:21 AM

What do you call 6 bodhran players?
anything you want - they can't hear you.......
OK I'm going.........


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: GUEST,macca
Date: 30 Apr 02 - 06:28 PM

Thanks Greg, didn't know they were quite so widespread. Obviously some early bodhranist (whatever) must have had a bike.

After following the intellectual cut and thrust of this absolutely riveting well-informed discussion on what must be one of the most primitive basic musical (?) sounds, I'd like to throw another hat in the ring.... or possibly spanner in the works.

What's the considered opinion on tuneable bodhrans? And by this, as I hasten to add, I mean any of the variety of adjustable tension systems now around, rather than on the more traditional methods such as water, body heat, fire, and in extreme cases, knives. Which is the best system? expanding band, screwed ring, etc? And if the instrument is not really old and traditional etc, then why are so many dead set against "modernising" it for ease and comfort, and if it is old etc, why don't the Folk Police jump up and down about it more?

PS, can I also refer you to the words for a bodhran solo which I penned the other day and which also appear somewhere else in this forum. Pretend you're Lonnie Donegan and talk in a slightly nasal amurricane accent through the Scots or Irish brogue.

TALKING BODHRAN FOLK BLUES

If you ain't looking for no trouble, Let me tell you how to do it. Don't get a bodhran, or you'll be right into it. Just thumping that thing, day and night. Ain't no way you can do it right. People'll grumble and carry on, Tell you it needs tuning - Offer you a knife. Always moaning, whinging. Tell you there ain't no point in practising. Ain't got no patience, some folks. Once I thought I'd like to play some music. So I spoke to a friend of mine - He built stuff. Tried fiddle, guitar, mandolin - Even tried banjo. Nothing worked. Fiddle needed accuracy - Guitar needed chords. Hell, Mandolin even needed strings. Banjo – Well, I figured if I played it loud enough, Nobody would notice I couldn't play a melody. I was wrong though. People noticed - Cast aspersions - Other things. Eggs, tomatoes - Half bricks – Hand grenades. So I asked around - Discovered – Drums. Asked my friend for something that would sound good if I hit it. He gave me his mother-in-law's phone number. I said no thanks - She was bigger than me. And the wrong key anyway. He said the next best thing was a bodhran. Tried it – liked it. So I spoke to a feller who had two. He gave me a great deal – Threw them both in. As a straight swap - For a pair of ear-plugs. Gave me a special stick to hit them with. Said just cut off the end to a suitable length. Said the axe-head was optional. So I took the bodhrans and I took the stick. And I went to a place I knew where bodhrans were welcome. The Celtic Tearooms. Well, I guess they didn't know any better. They damn soon learned though. But people said they liked it. Even people who played music said that. Before they left. Still, I persevered - Practised. Learned how to change rhythms. Learned how to set a beat. How to recognise a tempo. That's what they use to see how hot it is. Soon people were pointing me out in the street. Mind, they used to do that anyway. But now they were saying, "Hey, lookit the bodhran player. You can see how good he is with a bodhran. He can walk in step – With himself – Nearly." Still, I keep trying - Trying all the time. Day and night - Trying. Week in week out - Trying. Trying, trying, trying. Yep – Very. My good lady wife said if I didn't stop trying, Especially at my age – One of us had to go. But I knew I couldn't. And I knew that I needed her with me. "Cause of my undying love for her, even after all those years together. And the cooking – and washing – and cleaning. And if we split up, well, I just didn't know who - I'd be able to do it for. So I bought her a bodhran too. Must be contagious - Now she's practising. For hours on end – Duelling bodhrans. Thud thud thud. The neighbours have moved. The cat left home. Even the budgie sits with its' wings in its' ears. Mind you, it's got its' good points. Somewheres - Must have. Surely. Sometimes I wish I'd never heard of bodhrans. But what the hell. Just hit the thing. Makes me feel good. Gonna make the big time sometime. Somebody said I should cut me a record. Waste of time – Now I can't play either half. Joined a group. A guitar and a dulcimer and me. Nothing. Joined another group. Fiddle and a keyboard and me. Still nothing. Gonna try again. Third time lucky. Bagpipes and steam calliope and me. Somebody's got to shovel the coal. Great career move – So they tell me. Still rather be thumping away. Gonna keep thumping. Just them and me. Well, Me.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Guessed
Date: 08 Aug 02 - 10:50 AM

Is This Evidence?

UK 'catters have the chance to hear a snippet on the Irish who populated Monserrat. Pete McCarthy tells about their musical soirees where they play a drum "related" to the Irish "boaron" (as he pronounces it). And the cultural links between Ireland and Monserrat must have been minimal in the last 200 years and certainly since 1926. It was broadcast at 0945 Thurs GMT+1. Is repeated 0030 Sat 10th (12:30am to you).
Programme is call "Book of the Week" and the book is "the Road to McCarthy" read by Pete McCarthy.
If I find it on the BBC World Service I will post here.
Failing that keen types can always read the book.

He is a "good listen"


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 08 Aug 02 - 12:07 PM

A dildurn is an agricultural implement used for winnowing chaff from wheat; this is what the bodhran originally was.

You pile your grain into the bodhran, and then toss the stuff up and down (outside in the wind, obviously), so the chaff flies away and the grain stays.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 08 Aug 02 - 01:59 PM

This is a request for you scholar type people out there who wanna say that the bodhran is centuries old...

Let's see yer sources please... I know some are mentioned above, but there must be more...

I'd especially be interested in seeing primary sources in the form of pictures, or paintings...

;-)


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: fenman
Date: 08 Aug 02 - 03:51 PM

I guess in truth that this Irish drummy thing evolved as a transglobal instrument in many cultures, even before the Black Stuff was invented. I picked up in Dublin last year a leaflet from an Irish maker and his story was that it evolved from a goatskin bottomed circular tray used to haul peat from the peat beds. Now far be it for me to cast doubt on this historical gem but if I was going to pull a pile of peat home to keep me warm during the winter, i'd want a tad more peat than you could carry on a bodhran. The alternative version is that the bodhran started it's days as a circular skin covered lightweight shield (american plains indians link) used with the irish knobkerrie or shillelagh as a weapon for close quarter combat. At greater distances the warriors would beat their weapons upon their sheilds (zulu war link) in order to strike fear into their enemies. Now they just do it to their friends in Irish sessions up and down the country. Joking apart, it's a nice build excersise if you have the patience and like working nice woods and with the English weather, a tuning ring makes things soooooooo much easier. If anyone fancies having a go at making one, I built one a couple of years ago and it turned out a beaut, it frightens everyone. happy to talk it through with anyone.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 08 Aug 02 - 04:14 PM

"the bodhran started it's days as a circular skin covered lightweight shield"

Heh...

That is without a doubt, the single most highly suspect theory I've ever heard!

LOL!!!


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Mr Red
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 08:45 AM

Clinton - not so quick - mine are stained with the blood of people who tell bodhran jokes. Shield? You bet. Metaphorical maybe but I have to admit to not banging it with a sword (or pen-knife).

Now the real reason I am posting, I have just got the Pete McCarthy book "the Road to McCarthy". His chapter on Monserrat refers to "a percussion instrument related to the bodhran" so no more info than the program. However I have written to him, snail mail preferred despite the website http://www.petemccarthy.co.uk

I will post any info he offers. watch this space.....

let's see where it leads us.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Little Robyn
Date: 11 Jan 03 - 04:22 PM

I understand that the 'sticky thing' was originally a thigh bone of an Irish virgin, but they were becoming too small these days so people used the thigh bone of an Englishman instead.
I was told it was called a knocker. I had one that came with my bodhran and later a woodturner gave me another, slightly different shaped one. They're both good and that's great - I always wanted a good pair of knockers.....


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Mr Red
Date: 13 Jan 03 - 05:21 AM

Well I might make a start if someone would join in chorus and insult you...................**BG**


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Mr Red
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 02:43 PM

Clinton

Biddy Boys - would play on St Brigid day - the bodhrán sometimes appeared. From Mason T.H. "St Brigid's Crosses", Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 75, 164 1945.
If that is not that much before 1950 I should point out that it is supported by the (not on public display) bodhrán from 1820 for dancing and the Brideóg (St Brigids festival) National Museum of Ireland Cat No 1942/1790.

If that is not mature enough to chew on then I call on Giraldus Cambrensis who on his visit to Ireland was told that they have only two instruments the cythara (harp) and tympanum (single skinned tambour-like drum) in his "the Topography of Ireland" - if you can find a first edition from between 1145 and 1223 buy buy buy - there is profit in it at any price. Though JJ O'Meara Dundalk 1951 is listed as the more modern reference - perhaps it is a re-print or appraisal.

from
Janet E McCrickard "The Bodhran the background to the traditional Irish drum" ISBN 1-870500-15-6 ..... Fieldfare Arts & Designs, 2 Thornbury House, Wells Road, Glastonbury, Somerstet England. (Which is, in effect, the author) though it may be different than in 1987.
I could copy more of her 7 1/2 pages of studious references (out 62 total pages) of which at least one pageworth is bang on topic. But I will limit it to two from Curt Sachs "The History of musical Instruments" New York 1940 and "the Rise of Music in the Ancient World" New York 1943 - you may have better access to those.

Now if the book has any flaws I would point out it barely mentions red, skin and bodhran in the same sentence more than once - an ommision that is very hard to reconcile IMOHO.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 03:55 PM

Although Giraldus' tympanum has often been interpreted as referring to a form of drum, that is not usually now thought to be correct. The word is generally now taken to mean, in this context, a form of lyre (or possibly psaltery) probably struck or plucked.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Mr Red
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 08:03 PM

Ah now, the book has this covered in two ways - one is that it acknowledges uncertainty over the words tynpanum and tiompán &/or even tympanon, and how they where used (pretty flexibly) and discusses it. Witness the words whiskey and whisky. The second is it is not a categorical aspect - the author accepts the uncertainty and refers readers on to the Morcuse's Dictionary but as it is an op cit I have to wade through 7 pages to find the first ref. maybe tomorrow. There are plenty of first-hand accounts of people referring back to the thirties and the Bodhran at a fleadh. The wealth of referrences and the author's botany degree ensures her interest from the winnowing of wheat start-point but she did emminent research and deserves more than a cursory glance in this thread.
To say that Ireland does not have a long history of drumming is clearly false: witness the apprentice boys parades, different but for political as much as practical reasons.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 17 Jul 03 - 10:36 PM

I don't think that anyone at all has suggested that Ireland doesn't have a long history of drumming; like almost every other country in the world, it presumably has. The issue has really been whether or not there is any basis for thinking that the bodhran has been a significant part of it. So much romantic twaddle has been spread about on the subject in recent years that a cautious approach is by far the wisest. The spelling of tympanum, tiompan and so on is irrelevant (as is whisk[e]y!); what matters in the context of what you wrote is what Giraldus meant by it.

Of course, there may be genuine information out there, and it would be interesting to hear more about what Janet E. McCrickard has to say. She appears to be a "New Age" writer, though, which doesn't immediately inspire confidence. Perhaps we will be pleasantly surprised.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Mr Red
Date: 18 Jul 03 - 01:26 PM

She has done the rounds of people who where there in the 30's, paper and museums. Or did prior to 1987. She covers a lot more than just the word bodhran but remains on topic with skin/frame drums from a starting point of bodhran. It is the her sources that are paramount.

The problem I have with 1000 year old words is "context". We have the words but the context is mostly lost. It invovles more than just the accuracy of the speaker it involves the way they spoke then, their lexicon, and a million minutia we only glean from literally snapshots on vellum, in print or posed pictures. In the last 50 years we have moved through several takes on the "hot" "cool" usage in the context of popular verbiage. In a thousand years time they will have much more of the context because of forums like this.

FWIW she does discount the item as evidence adding that tympanum and tiompan can be struck with sticks and that alone guarrantees a common root for the word. And a millenium of discussion. Nice to know we are carrying on that tradition. Or should I say banging on about it?


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Torctgyd
Date: 12 May 05 - 06:23 AM

Now I know why there are so many jokes about bodhrans and banjos. The banjo is just a bodhran with a neck and strings attached! It's the same instrument!!!!!


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: GUEST,Allen
Date: 12 May 05 - 07:40 AM

"Has anyone else come across the Persian (central Asia anyway)version of the dear ould Irish drum. This is about 450 - 600mm across and say 50mm deep. It has a number of brass rings attached to the inside of the rim about two thirds of the way around, secured by staples so that they overlap and hang loose. Players hold the drum upright across the body in palms of both hands with fingers against skin, and tap and shake the drum. Rhythms can be very complex. Sounds fantastic in trained hands. Kind of like a grown-up tambourine with orchestral pretensions. Guess I'll just keep rattling away on the ordinary bodhrans."

There are some fantastic Azeri players of frame-drums, with or without brass rings.

BTW, I think there were sorts of lyres made with jingly bits, so that would fit with tympanum.


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: GUEST
Date: 12 May 05 - 06:52 PM

Saw someone playing one of these in a concert in the Pleasance, Edinburgh recently: very impressed.
I also love the Spanish and Italian way of playing the larger tambourines, which involves a lot of different hand movements and produces a variety of sounds, not just the jingles!
TB


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: GUEST
Date: 12 May 05 - 06:54 PM

Oi oi my cookie's gone again!
TB


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Subject: RE: Help: Bodhran history???
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 12 May 05 - 08:18 PM

G'day,

Just to throw in a bit of dating info from the far side of the world ... I have, in the Bush Music Club Archives, a videoptape of a c. 1980 program on a woman (now deceased) who had gone from being something of a country singer back towards her Irish ancestry and was teaching (vaguely Irish-derived) dancing in schools.

At one point she tells how she had been taught to play the bodhran by her grand mother (presumably in the 1920s) ... using a wooden spoon as a tipper on a wooden bread board. I can't remember whether she mentions the story that I have heard from other quarters ... that the drum was proscribed under British rule as a "war instrument" - presumed to lead soldiers into battle - and possession of a drum could be a capital offence, so the playing skills were passed on via other expedients like the bread board.

I personally find the logic a little strained, but I have also heard that the bodhran was encountered in Ireland before the 1950s folk revival - but only played in various festivals ... using one made for the event and ceremonially burned on a bonfire at the end of the evening (... now there's a tradition to ponder ... !).

Sorry, no citations - just a ragbag of recollections. (I should, at least, dig out the videotape and see if it still has a signal on it - or, at least, get the references to the subject.) She sent it to me when she was looking for someone who might publish her autobiography / reminiscences of Irish songs, music and dance / collection of her modern dances based on her heritage.

It was much too big for us and I suggested it might be better as three separate books. She wanted to see it come out as one book ... and I gather that she died, not long after taking back the typescript.)

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Bodhran history???
From: Splott Man
Date: 13 May 05 - 03:08 AM

I remember seeing one for the first time in the mid 60s, played by the Corries on TV. They said it was introduced to Ireland by Phoenician traders.

That fits the Persian connection.

Of course, it could be hearsay.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran history???
From: Boab
Date: 13 May 05 - 03:17 AM

For handling of the cipin, any hard reasonably flat surface lends itself to learning "triples" etc.. When it comes to the nuances of jigs or brush work, however, the bodhran skin is essential. I'd say to anyone who is thinking about learning the bodhran, by all means pick up a piece of melamine board or similar, and go to it; it's a good way to start.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran history???
From: GUEST,guset
Date: 24 Aug 06 - 10:07 AM

"by all means pick up a piece of melamine board or similar,"

but for christ sake, don't bring your board to a session.


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Subject: RE: Bodhran history???
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 25 Aug 06 - 07:50 AM

What's Rolf doing these days?


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Subject: RE: Bodhran history???
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 25 Aug 06 - 05:42 PM

Well, last I heard, he was doing all these big pictures: but that was last year! Got my photie took with him at Heathrow airport when he was waiting for a plane to Edinburgh to do one there.
Oh and talking about boards........just got myself a washboard, £5 in an antique shop in Innerleithen, metal one side, glass the other. Cost me £7.50 to buy enough thimbles to cover my index, middle and ring fingers. Could this be worse than bodhran or wobble board, I ask?


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Subject: RE: Bodhran history???
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 25 Aug 06 - 06:50 PM

Tattie Bogle - I just bought a washboard from a junk shop in Innerleithen today too! How many has that town got?

Glass washboards are musically useless (unless maybe you mike them up).

I adapt washboards. Cut the metal in half not-quite-diagonally to make two trapezoids and set in a plywood surround to make a board with a triangular wooden area. Hold fore-and-aft, hit with five thimbles in each hand, from both sides. The result is something that can convincingly replicate the rhythms of a Scottish dance band drummer.

I have one of the frame drums with rings. I bought mine in Urfa, it's the Kurdish variant. The rings seem to be a Central Asian idea originally, like chain mail.

BTW Monserrat was populated by a lot more Africans and Caribs than Irish. If it has any indigenous frame drum it's surely more likely to have come from North America or Africa.


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