Tune trading, discussion of melodic variations, different settings, differences of style using articulations (rhythmic embellishments), pulse, tone, double stops and bowing techniques (on fiddles), open vs. closed fingering or reed manipulation (on pipes), tonguing and chiff, embrasure positions (on whistle and flute), breath pushing, glottal stops,
and “dirty playing” (on flute) are just a small smattering of subjects that anyone might participate in or overhear before, during, or after any given Irish session. For the obsessed, these subjects are never ending ones that bring pleasure and entertainment to those who have a penchant for such discussions. A major part of the craic for such people, these subjects abound with argument, opinion, legends of the impossible feat achieved and the names of the heroes involved. So, what of such discussion among bodhrán players? Do we have subjects like these? The answer is yes. Yes indeed.
Much discussion between bodhrán players is about the physical aspects of the drums, different approaches to execution, variations on rhythm, pitch variation, tone that is directly effected by hand positions, tipper angles, tipper impact placement on a particular area of the skin, etc. These subjects offer exploration for discussions between bodhrán players. Sharing experiences leads to one’s own exploration of new ideas on how to play the instrument and finding out what different techniques can offer to widen the range of sounds you can obtain from your drum. So if you’ve been wondering, then follow through with questioning, too. You need not be an expert to ask questions and discuss your own experiences. Reflection is a large part of any learning process and experience, so get in the discussion and try out something new on your drum that maybe you’d never considered.