Ceallaigh's Blog

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tuning Your Kit

The best instructional video I've found for tuning a kit is called: Drum Tuning, Sound & Design. It's a bit pricey as DVDs go, but if you're willing to spend several hundred dollars on a kit, you should be willing to spend $25 to learn how to tune it.

Beginning to Play

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tiriba is a northeastern African rhythm I learned while taking djembe classes in Ann Arbor during the early spring of 2007. The files listed below contain the djembe parts for that rhythm and are included here with permission from the instructor of that class. Please be advised that these sound files are low-quality.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

These songs represent my initial foray into making popular Folk and Gaelic lyrics available on my web site. Future songs will be listed individually. The songbook is downloadable below as a PDF file.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Basics

Posture for Right-Handed Players

Sit upright in a chair that has no arms. Plant both of your feet on the floor such that your left leg supports the underside of the drum and your right foot is free to keep time with the rhythm of the music. Tuck the drum between your left upper arm and ribcage such that your body holds it steady and not your left hand. Keep your upper body reasonably still, except for your left hand, right hand, right wrist and right forearm, which should remain loose while you play.

Striking the Drum

Strike the drum with the stick in a 45-degree angle, moving from a position parallel to the floor to a position perpendicular to the floor. Strike the drum with the stick firmly and quickly, in a snapping or bouncing motion, such that you use the momentum of the stick to better articulate strokes.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

In order to make use of this article you should:

1.Know what a jig is
2.Be able to read drumming notation

Introduction

The bodhrán is a versatile instrument, but the drum kit is more versatile, and the combinations of sound it can bring to Celtic music are vast. However, it's important to remember that Celtic music isn't rock and roll, jazz or any other kind of music and can't be played on the kit as if it is.

The Feet: Emphasizing the Music

When playing a jig on the bodhrán, emphasis is almost always placed on beat 1 of the measure. Additionally, emphasis is often placed on beat 4 of the measure, so that beat 1 is emphasized most, while beat 4 might also be emphasized with a rim click or other device. Slightly less often a double-downstroke is used on beats 1 and 3, so that beat 1 is emphasized most, while beat 3 is slightly softer.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

This is the video taken of my summer bodhrán workshop, available here courtesy of Druidic Dawn.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

After Makaly's head split, I took several pictures of the djembe, head and weave and posted them on my web site. My hope was that I might find a replacement Fiberskyn head for the drum and then write an instructional journal entry about how I made the switch.

Sadly, I couldn't find a Fiberskyn head to match my drum, so I sold it. However, several people have found my djembe photos during their online searches, so I have decided to leave them up and point to them specifically in this entry. They're instructional, in their own way, because they show the way a goat skin head can split, the way a traditional djembe body is constructed and the way a djembe weave is put together.

So, here they are. Hope you find them helpful: Djembe Repair.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

These exercises are intermediate in level; you should be able to keep time on a kit and read standard drumming notation to make use of them.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

In order to make use of this article you should:

1.Know what a reel is
2.Be able to read drumming notation

Introduction

A basic reel rhythm on the bodhrán normally utilizes a strong bass note on the first and/or second beats of the measure, which serves to 'drive the tune'. On the kit, this is accomplished with the bass drum followed by ornamentation on the snare, toms and hi-hat in beats three and four.

The Exercises

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

About ten years ago, I bought a pennywhistle for ten bucks at some Irish gift store in Niagara on the Lake, Ontario. When I took it home and tried to play it, my beloved cat Spot jumped up onto my desk and tried desperately to rescue me from it by swatting it out of my hands. This happened every time I played the thing, so eventually I gave up and went on to other pursuits.

But I never forgot how much I loved the way the instrument sounded, and through a confluence of personal realizations I won't bore you with here, I decided I needed another, better pennywhistle. So I bought a custom-made instrument from a flute-maker in Florida.

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