Drums like these are played in the middle east with hands and fingers. Glen Velez created a new style of playing this instrument, adapting techniques from different framedrumming traditions. It is basically a framedrum without a thumbhole between 14″ and 20″, modern versions sometimes even bigger. Sometimes there is a cross in the inside of the frame.
watch the beginning chapter from instructional DVD “Worldpercussion 1 – Frame Drums”
Sit on a chair and place the instrument on your left leg. The left wrist rests on the frame of the drum and keeps it stable. The left hand and fingers need to be free to move to execute the different strokes.
The bass tone on the bodhran is executed with the right thumb. You start in a position where the thumb points away from your body and your hand is open as if someone is giving you something. Then you turn your wrist and “throw” your thumb towards the skin. After you hit, you let your thumb bounce off immediately.
The rimstroke “Tak” is executed with the right and left ringfinger. In both cases you hit the edge of the skin. Try to make the sound as clear and open as possible. For the right hand “tak” start with the back of your hand pointing up and then turn your wrist to hit the drum as showed on the picture. For the left hand stroke place your wrist and thumb on the frame of the drum. Hit the skin with the ringfinger as shown in the picture. It takes some time to develop the necessary strength in your finger.
For this stroke hit the skin with your hand slightly cupped. Hit with the fingertips of all four fingers and of the thumb. Keep the fingers on the skin to dampen the sound.
The technique for this stroke is similar to snapping your finger. You can do it with all fingers, but for now use the most common ones, the ring and middle finger of the left hand. The finger is placed against the thumb and then snapped against the rim. You can use both fingers to do two strokes in a row.
For this technique make a claw with your right hand, put the fingernails against the skin and brush up and down. If you use your hand flat, you get another sound.
The first pattern is the fundament of the rhythm below. It is played only with the right hand. It is a good exercise to practice the movement from “Pa” to “Dum” which is very important.
Fill up the spaces with left hand „Tak“s:
In the next example the left-hand stroke on the 3rd beat is accented:
And now play a snap instead:
A second pattern is added. It is similar to the one before, just the first two strokes are substituted with a right hand “Tak”:
Add some brush strokes in the middle of the pattern. Start to brush downwards:
The last two strokes are substituted by fingersnaps of the left ring and middle finger:
A combination of the variations before:
If you leave out the last two strokes of the pattern, you are in 6/8:
Add a second pattern:
A variation using the brushing technique:
more complex variations using the brushing technique:
© David Kuckhermann 2006