Tibetan Singing Bowls
Frequently Asked Questions
What are singing bowls used for?
Tibetan singing bowls produce sounds which can invoke a state of relaxation which can help when entering into meditation. They are also widely used in sound healing, stress reduction, holistic healing, Reiki, chakra balancing, and World music.
How do I play my singing bowl?
Hold the singing bowl on your outstretched palm, not touching it with your finger tips. Hold the striker firmly as if were a pen. Gently tap the bowl to begin and then firmly and slowly run the striker around the outer rim using constant pressure. Some advocate using an action similar to stirring soup, keeping the wrist straight, whilst others prefer a free rotating wrist action. After a little practice you will quickly learn that slightly different sounds can be produced by altering the pressure or speed of the action, or by playing a lower part of the bowl, or by using a different striker. The ‘rattling’ sometimes produced can be eliminated by altering the speed of the action, or particularly in the case of hammered bowls, by using a leather-covered striker.
Singing bowls can also be used as gongs and played by striking them with a mallet to produce percussive, pulsating tones.
Which bowls produce the deepest sound?
Generally speaking, the larger the bowl, the deeper the tone. Therefore the deepest tone is achieved with the large bowls, and the tiny bowls produce a higher tone.
Where are singing bowls made?
Although generally referred to as "Tibetan" singing bowls, most commercially available singing bowls are made in India and Nepal. We personally select our singing bowls by visiting our suppliers in Nepal, although some of these will have been originally manufactured in India.
What is the difference between "hammered" and "cast " singing bowls?
The traditional method of manufacturing singing bowls is by hammering a flat sheet of metal over a form. These "hammered" singing bowls can be recognised by the hammer marks on the surface, and they produce a complex tone.
Many modern singing bowls are "cast" in a mould and are sometimes (wrongly) described as "machine-made". They typically have a smooth surface and produce a more monotone sound.
What are singing bowls made of?
Traditionally, Tibetan singing bowls were made of bronze alloy called "bell metal". This is typically 22% tin and 78% copper. Tiny traces of other metals are often present, which is why they are commonly described as "five-metal" or "seven-metal" singing bowls. Modern manufacturers may vary the bronze alloy formulation, and some cheaper bowls are made of brass.
What are the Chakra notes?
According to Ayurvedic teaching, Chakras are the seven energy centres which govern the subtle psychosomatic aspects of our lives. Some believe that the powerful vibrations of the singing bowl can balance these energy centres. Below are the simplified chakra descriptions and their corresponding musical notes.
The Root Chakra - at the base of the spine, relating to survival, drive, ambition and grounding energy. – Note C
The Sacral Chakra - just below the naval, relating to the energy of creation and reproduction. -Note D
The Solar Plexus Chakra - associated with personal power, emotions and passion for living. – Note E
The Heart Chakra - associated with compassion, friendship, empathy and ability to give and receive love. -Note F
The Throat Chakra - associated with communication and speaking ones truth. – Note G
The Third Eye - between and above the eyebrows, associated with intuition and creative imagination. – Note A
The Crown Chakra - on the top of the head, associated with cosmic awareness and spiritual enlightenment. – Note B.
It is worth noting that many sound healers caution against slavish adherence to this traditional teaching. A hammered singing bowl will often vibrate to several notes, and with such a complex range of harmonics, cannot be claimed to work only on a particular chakra. Furthermore, the chakras vibrate at a different frequency in each person.
Here is an interesting approach to the subject -