From Bodhran


Marches like polkas are 2/4 time which means there is 2 beats per bar.

one two | one two | one two | one two | one two | one two | one two | one two | one two | one two

For example the following pattern is my ‘gallop’ pattern:

TAP 123 123 123 123 123 12 TAP TAP TAP TAP (The 123 is a down up tap pattern)

Here is a slow version.


Slip jigs

A slip-jig is a variant of a jig. Similar to a jig it is based on 3 beats in a bar(3/4 time).  Unlike a standard jig which is 6/8 time (6 beats in 2 bars) it is 9/8 time (9 beats in 2 bars).  The squeezing of more beats into two bars makes slip jigs sound livelier at times.

Slow base pattern


Fast base pattern


Jig Pattern-The Drop In

This jig pattern is called the drop in as it has 8 soft beats at the end and then starts the new part with a loud DUM.  The pattern is very straightforward and goes as follows:

1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5 6
Dum Ta Dum Ta Dum Ta

Here is the pattern played slowly on its own.



Here is the pattern played along to the slow jig in the home practice player.



While it is a simple pattern it can be made more complex by using some syncopation (off beat strokes).

Dum Ta Dum Dum Ta

This pattern is a staple of mine, that I would use a lot when playing reels.  The “Dum Dum Ta” part should be used sparingly, and is good for emphasizing the end of a lower key part of a tune.  The below clip is a slow version of the pattern

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
Dum Ta Dum Dum Ta


I have also recorded a variatoin of this pattern accompanying the Slow reel by Damian McKee in the home practice player.  Its a little faster than the above clip but you should get the idea of how it sounds with a tune.  In this clip i emphasize the difference between the first and second part of the tune by using the following variation for part one:

Then part two is the above repeated four times.




Best teaching video around

Screenshot 2013-10-24 18.21.59

For me Eamon Murray is the cream of the crop of modern bodhran playing.  He takes the complexity of bodhran playing to another level with style, passion and an innate sense of rhythm.

His recent adventure into video teaching, ‘Bodhran soup’,  is a must have for any bodhran player and has something for everyone from beginners to those well-heeled session players.

Some of the practice tunes (which i used opposite) are perfect clean tunes for perfecting your patterns and every lesson is pack with plenty of Antrim humour.

And the horse,,,, well don’t start me on the horse!!!

Madden’s Early Bird Friday Sesssion

Since my beloved wednesday night session in McHughs has ended I needed to find an good alternative.  The early Friday session in Madden’s, marshalled by the formidable pairing of Aidan Walsh and Ruairi O’Kane, has been the perfect antidote to a hard week in the ‘think’ factory.  Here is a little excerpt.


Here is an interesting collection of bodhran videos starting with the excellent Billie Bodhran ensemble.

[youlist pid=”PLXXyG8m79nfWLrP4kQKVZalUu4OjCsIma”]