Singing bowls originated in the Himalayan region of Tibet and Nepal. They come in many shapes and sizes and have been around for centuries. Steeped in legend and mystery, it was rumored that the highest lamas used them in secret ceremonies to journey to other realms.
The bowls produce sounds which help draw the mind into deep states of relaxation. They are effective in reducing stress and are used in the West for holistic healing, balancing chakras, reiki as well as in alternative music.
The humming vibrations of a singing bowl naturally assist one entering into meditation. The full blend of harmonic overtones causes an immediate centering effect that helps balance the left and right hemispheres of the brain. It is said that a single singing bowl can vibrate up to seven individual and simultaneous tones, each at their own consistent frequency.
Singing bowls, used as meditation devices, can be found on private Buddhist altars, and in temples, monasteries and meditation halls around the globe. Meditating on the subtle sounds of the bowls is said to tune one into the universal sound within and without.
The sound, the bowl produces, is similar to the tone one hears when rubbing a moistened finger around the edge of a crystal glass.
How They are Made
Traditionally, the bowls are poured, shaped and hammered by hand from a metallic alloy that consists of 7 to 9 different metals. Today, it is possible to purchase factory stamped bowls made with machine presses but the quality of the sound is limited.
Playing the Singing Bowl
The singing bowl is played with a mallet that is usually covered with leather or wool. Striking it along the bowl's side produces a "gong-like" effect, while rubbing the mallet, with sufficient friction, in a circular pattern around the side and rim, produces a humming blend of vibrational resonances and overtones.
The sound, serenely haunting and mesmerizing, seems to come from another dimension, grabbing the mind, focusing it and smoothing out its rough edges, leaving it better than before it was engaged.
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Interested in how the singing bowl can enrich your music? E-Mail for details: Reid@PrimitiveSound.com