The bodhrán (pronounced /ˈbɔ�?rɑ�?n/ or /ˈbaʊrɑ�?n/; plural bodhráns or bodhráin) is an Irish frame drum ranging from 25 to 65cm (10" to 26") in diameter, with most drums measuring 35 to 45cm (14" to 18"). The sides of the drum are 9 to 20cm (3½" to 8") deep. A goatskin head is tacked to one side (although nowadays, synthetic heads, or new materials like kangaroo skin, 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 professional instruments.
The drum is usually played in a seated position, held vertically on the player's thigh and supported by his or her upper body and arm (usually on the left side, for a right-handed player), with the hand placed on the inside of the skin where it is able to control the tension (and therefore the pitch and timbre) by applying varying amounts of pressure and also the amount of surface area being played, with the back of the hand against the crossbar, if present. The drum is struck with the other arm (usually the right) and is played either with the bare hand or with a lathe-turned piece of wood called a "bone", "tipper", "beater", or "cipín". Tippers were originally fashioned from a double-ended knuckle bone, but are now commonly made from ash, holly or hickory.