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date: 14 October 2019


  • Mícheál O Súilleabháin,
  • Sandra Joyce
  •  and Niall Keegan


Single-headed frame drum of Ireland. The membrane, which is normally goatskin but could be deer-, greyhound-, ass-, foal-, or horse-skin, is usually nailed to the frame. It is played either with the hand or, more commonly, a stick about 20 cm long, which is usually carved from ash, holly or hickory wood and is also known as a ‘tipper’ or cipín (‘little stick’). It may have a knob at one or both ends and a strip of leather is occasionally fastened to its centre to form a holding loop. A smaller stick (about 10 cm long) with a leather loop at one end and a carved knob at the other is sometimes used.

The term ‘bodhrán’ appears to be derived from bodhar, meaning ‘deaf’ or ‘dull-sounding’. The instrument was associated with folk ritual and was played in festival processions; it has survived primarily in association with the festival of St Stephen's Day. Until recently the construction of the ...

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Galpin Society Journal