Michael Vignoles Tunable Bodhran 16×5.5. Michael Vignoles, bodhran and Uilleann pipe maker, a musician and craftsman from the Claddagh, Galway City, Ireland, has been making Irish musical instruments for the past 30 years. His bodhrans have been played by some of the finest names in music. Michael also produces a unique walking stick that contains one of Ireland’s oldest musical instruments, the tin whistle, inside the stick. These handcrafted items bring Ireland to you!
Bodhran. The bodhrán (/ˈbɔːrɑːn/ or /ˈbaʊrɑːn/, Irish pronunciation: [ˈbˠəʊɾˠaːnˠ]; plural bodhráin or bodhráns), is a frame drum of Irish origin ranging from 25 to 65 cm (10–26 in) in diameter, with most drums measuring 35–45 cm (14–18 in). The sides of the drum are 9–20 cm (3 1⁄2–8 in) deep. A goatskin head is tacked to one side (synthetic heads or other animal skins are sometimes used). The other side is open-ended for one hand to be placed against the inside of the drum head to control the pitch and timbre. One or two crossbars, sometimes removable, may be inside the frame, but this is increasingly rare on modern instruments. Some professional modern bodhráns integrate mechanical tuning systems similar to those used on drums found in drum kits. It is usually with a hex key that the bodhrán skins are tightened or loosened depending on the atmospheric conditions.
According to musician Ronan Nolan, former editor of Irish Music magazine, the bodhrán evolved in the mid-19th century from the tambourine, which can be heard on some Irish music recordings dating back to the 1920s and viewed in a pre-Famine painting. However, in remote parts of the south-west, the "poor man's tambourine" – made from farm implements and without the cymbals – was in popular use among mummers, or wren boys. A large oil painting on canvas by Daniel Maclise (1806–1870) depicts a large Halloween house party in which a bodhrán features clearly. That painting, produced c. 1842, shows a flautist accompanied by a tambourine player who, in an Arabic style in contrast to standard bodhrán technique, used his fingers rather than a tipper. It is known that by the early 20th century, home-made frame drums were constructed using willow branches as frames, leather as drumheads, and pennies as jingles. In photographs from the 1940s and videos from the 1950s, jingles remained part of the bodhrán construction like a tambourine, yet were played with cipín, also known in English as "tipper".