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How do the Tibetan Singing Bowls Sing?

How do Tibetan Singing Bowls Sing?

The Tibetan singing bowls are multi-phonic instruments, reaching layered frequencies and producing multiple harmonic overtones at the same time. This creates a magical and unique harmonic effect. Tibetan singing bowls work through a combination of sound and vibration. The deep and strong sound vibration frequency is swiftly transported to the cellular level of the human body.

Singing bowls can be played:

  • by striking the rim (the lip) of the bowl with a padded soft mallet or leather mallet in the same way one would strike a gong.
  • by ringing (or rubbing) the rim with a wooden, plastic or leather-wrapped mallet. Playing around the rim of the bowl emphasises the harmonic overtones and produces a continuous “singing” sound. This is what Tibetan master Gyalwa Karmapa calls “The sound of the void”.

Watch the video below to hear the bowls in action:

Some people speak about the fundamental tones (masculine) and harmonic notes (feminine) of the bowls. The lower tone of the bowl, or fundamental, is produced by rubbing a leather mallet around the outside wall of the bowl. The female overtone of the bowl, which is the bowls’ highest voice, is produced by pressing the wooden part of the mallet along the outside edge of the lip of the bowl. There is usually also a mid-tone present in the medium to large size bowls, with multiple frequencies in between (the harmonic notes, or octaves). This tone will usually come up when you begin to play a medium-sized bowl around the lip and then, after the bowl is warmed up, it will resolve to the female overtone and jump an octave.

Once again, Tibetan singing bowls are an excellent meditative, therapeutic and transformational healing tool for those who receive and those who channel; the doer and the seeker. No matter how you use it, if you have a loving intent, faith in yourself and faith in energy and matter, you will channel healing and relaxation.

EXERCISE:

Play your bowls to practice the striking techniques demonstrated in the video, as well as starting to tune into the fundamental and harmonic tones of your instruments. This will help you to discover each bowl’s character and how they interact with your other bowls when played together.

Get to know your bowls; they have much to tell you and this will make a difference when we get to the practical part of the course.

N.B. If you haven’t received your bowls yet, complete the exercise with what you do have and you can revisit this exercise when you have them.