The secret that will determine whether or not you learn to play a bodhran will depend on three things: the dedication , commitment and resilience that you put into it when practicing.
Before going on to explain everything you need to know about the basic and more advanced techniques to learn to play a bodhran, we want to tell you something very important:
From now on, we want you to close your eyes and imagine in your mind your self committed to playing the bodhran for a few hours a day , and you do this several days a week, as if it were a habit.
Later you will understand why what we have just told you is crucial that you apply it to your life. Without further ado, we will detail each of the details to take into account from lowest to highest level of difficulty , with the help of practical videos to make the learning process more enjoyable and fun. Let’s go!
How to percuss your bodhran | Beginner Level ⭐️ Within the reach of the vast majority of users!
We are barely on the ground and on the horizon we see a whole peak to climb until we reach our final goal: to learn and master the Irish bodhran technique like an artist himself
For this, it is essential to put the first stone on your path. And that first stone you must know the rhythms that you will use with your right and left hand , respectively.
But before going on to explain each of the rhythms it is important that you know something: You have to find out if the song you are going to interpret has a quaternary or ternary rhyme
And how can you know this? Very easy. Imagine a 4 syllable word and sing it along with the music, if it fits, it means it is a quaternary rhythm. However, if it is a 3 syllable word and matches the time signature of the melody, it means that it is a ternary rhythm.
Binary or quaternary subdivision rhythms or quaternary rhythms with your right hand
The first rhythm that you must know and learn is very simple:
Holding your drumstick or any wooden utensil that you have at your fingertips, you will strike the head of your bodhran 3 times
To play this rhythm, you must first hold your stick down (as if you were writing), and strike a first note approximately twice as long as the next two.
The first and second notes are struck downwards and the third and last, upwards (Look from minute 1:00 of the video where it is explained in detail)
This rhythm is characterized by having 3 notes in the beat of the melody
Ternary subdivision rhythms or ternary rhythms with your right hand
Unlike quaternary rhythms, this rhyme is characterized by having 4 notes in the beat of the melody
There are many rhythms that we can follow with this type of subdivision, but we will tell you which is the most important and what you should know:
To play this melody, you must beat a long downward stroke on your stick , then a shorter upward stroke, and the next two downward notes, followed and fast.
On the strong note, your utensil should always hit it down, never forget it (Watch from min 3:00 of the video where it is explained in detail)
From min 4:28 until min 6:36 , it is detailed how a quaternary rhythm and a ternary should be. We highly recommend you take a look
Variation of the musical key with your left hand
Once the first test has passed, it is the turn of our left wrist. And not only for the purpose of holding the bodhran but, in addition, it has more functions and surely more than one you did not know.
In a bodhran, not only the rhythm becomes important, but also the melody it emits, as in any other musical instrument.
The like this predisposed our hand behind the membrane will result in a sound type or another: Starting from the center of the patch, as we walk our hand up we will issue from a more serious sound to a more acute
If we take our hand to the top, we will be recreating a secondary membrane that will have its own resonance, in this case acute
The higher we take it, the more subtle the sound will be, the lower and we get closer to the starting point, the lower our melody will be
We will be recreating what we all know as a musical scale
From 7:08 min until 14:45 min , you will be able to observe in detail how it is playing at the same time with the rhythm and tone of the melody, and a TRICK that will come to you in luxury. Look at it and you will thank us
How to percuss your bodhran | Medium Level ⭐️⭐️ You can do it!
Ornaments with your right hand
Once you have seen what are the basic movements that you must learn with the left and right hand respectively, we must focus on how we move our right hand
We do not have to start doing this until we have mastered the movements of the left hand inside the Irish drum , which will be the key to achieving the desired musical graduation
We can hold our drumstick in different ways: One of them is with the traditional method , which is gripped as if it were a pen but with the particularity that said grip will occur in the center , and not at the lower end as would happen with the traditional grip of a writing utensil
Watch the video below from 16:36 min to 19:50 min , there you will have it explained seeing how it is struck with the traditional method (grip in the center) for quaternary rhythms, and the modern or top-end method (grip in the highest part, closer to the wrist) for the ternary rhythms
Why is this form of support so important? Because it will allow us to produce sounds with both the upper end and the lower end of the bead
To achieve this we must play as we have been doing until now and the moment we strike that first blow, we make a 180 degree movement . Thus, the lower end of our cue will impact on the membrane of our bodhran. It sounds easy, but it is not. Try it and you will see for your own eyes
From 19:50 min, it is explained in detail how it is and how to make the dressing
When you master this grip and movement of your drumstick, your next action has to be to regain the movement but this time in reverse , that is, if we have started by striking down, now we have to do it up . In the 21:05 min you will be able to see in detail how this movement should be
The right arm and how we shake it will be key so that the impact of the stick on the membrane of the Irish tambourine is effective and we get to learn to really play a bodhran
In the case that we apply the ternary rhythms and chain three strokes, we will go first down, then up and then two notes down, the second being the strongest
In the 25:10 min until the 28:00 min everything is clearer, look at it
You can also find tutorials on Youtube Anglo – Saxon talks about how playing the bodhran , or go directly to the website of the Irish Academy of Music Online www.oaim.ie . It also reveals the most important steps to type bodhran perfectly, although it will require you to know some English to understand it.
There are more videos of a more advanced level that will come as a ring. You will have them divided from basic level to more advanced level
What is the best way to learn in life? Take action by touching your bodhran, and that is what we expect you to do. Go ahead and practice at once, you have no excuses 😉!