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Basic rudiments

From bowiki

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These are the basic patterns that are necessary to play the bodhrán. Any tutorial will start here. Make sure you can execute these smoothly and evenly in terms of their regularity and their strength.


Suggested practise tempii - 90 bpm upwards

This unaccented single stroke roll is the most basic playing pattern. It is also your warm up.

Play the pattern 4 times for each of the following variations

  • without accents
  • with the accent on beat 1
  • with the accent on beat 2
  • with the accent on beat 3
  • with the accent on beat 4
  • with the accent on downstrokes
  • with the accent on upstrokes
    • repeat the process

Jigs and Reels

The fundamental difference between jigs and reels is that the jig is a 3 or 6 beat pattern rather than the reel's 4 beat pattern. It is easy to remember this because jig has 3 letters and reel has 4.

All jigs are counted in multiples of three, a waltz or single jig is 3 beats, a double (or standard jig) is 6 beats, a slipjig is 9 beats (3 groups of 3) and a slide being 12 (4 groups of 3).

The accents shown below reflect the standard reel pattern and are shown for demonstration, you should try and work on accenting different individual beats as you practise


The standard reel is simply a single stroke roll with the accent on the first beat.

Variations are suggested above

suggested practise tempii from 90 bpm to 200bpm


The jig here is shown as being in 6/8 time, i.e. 6 beats to the bar. This is by far the most common form. You will notice that the pattern automatically reverses itself on the 4 count for the second set of 3 beats. This means that the accent occurs on the upstroke. Try to make this upstroke accent clear, it is the one that causes some difficulty to beginning and progressing players.

As with the reel, try accenting different beats within the pattern

suggested practise tempii from 90 bpm to 180bpm

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