How to choose the singing bowl for you?
Singing bowls can be quite pricey, so it is important to know how to recognise the good quality product that will serve you and your family well in the years to come.
First thing we notice about the bowls are the colour and shape. The colour comes from the metal alloy they are made out of and it is a so called “bell metal”. It is a very hard bronze alloy, that is made up from Copper and Tin (traditionally 4:1 ratio) with other metals added for flexibility and strength. The bell metal is used to produce bells, gongs, cymbals and sound bowls (each with their own individual composition of additional metals). Those alloys make the bowls vibrate and sing beautifully. According to the reports and some modern research, the ancient producers of the Sining bowls used seven to twelve metals in production of their bowls. Some of the modern manufacturers managed to replicate not only the ancient techniques, but also the alloy recipes.
The colour needs to be golden with some patina (darker natural tint in some places). The patina comes from oxidisation of the surface metals and is completely natural. The presence of the patina may attest to the original metal components. Some fake bowls are painted with epoxy resins to create the ancient look, so if you see an uniform colour on the bowl, check for the possible paint or resin layer.
The good quality bowl will also be quite heavy. The walls of the bowl will be uniform and quite thick (1mm – 2mm). This thickness of the wall is also responsible for the depth and tone of the bowl’s sound. Some bowls also are produced with the folded rim. It is quite obvious when you look at them. It is fine to use those bowls, there is a specific quality of sound that they produce, but you will need to look further down the rim to determine the thickness of the walls.
Singing bowls are made in all shapes and sizes. One thing they have in common is that they are made for sound. The larger in size the bowl, the deeper sounds and more intense vibrations it emits. The different sound characteristics are useful in the Sound Therapy.
What are the best therapy quality sound bowls? There are several components:
Deep sound – therapeutic bowls are characterised by long and intense decay or reverberation time (the time it takes for the sound to be completely inaudible). The longer-lasting sound allows for a softer playing and better control over the instruments.
Intense vibrations – treatment with sound bowls involves the impact of a sound wave – a vibration that people undergoing therapy should feel after every strike of the mallet.
Multi-tonality – each therapeutic-quality bowl has several tones that interact in a specific way. Such sound quality can be obtained only in the extensive production process where bowls are made in a traditional way from specially selected metal alloys.
Appropriate frequencies – tuned to individual areas of the body (it is no coincidence that therapeutic bowls are divided into types indicating the purpose of the bowl, e.g. the pelvic or heart bowl. Each of the bowls for therapy is used in a different way and combined in appropriate elements).
Quality of workmanship – therapy bowls are characterised by the highest quality of workmanship. They are appropriately large and heavy, which translates into intense vibrations and desirable therapeutic properties, which are especially strongly felt during an individual sound treatment.
You will have different reaction to the different bowls, so it is best to test before you buy. And remember your bowl is for you, so only you have to be happy with it. Other people might not like what you have chosen, but in this case, only your opinion matters.
To test the bowl, you may place it on outstretched plam of your hand. Make sure your fingers do not make contact with the sides of the bowl. Another option is to prop the bowl on the tips of your fingers. Then strike the rim with the soft mallet in the area of about 2-3cm from the edge.
Concentrate on the sound and vibrations, that disperse in your body, through your hand, and further up. The best way to concentrate on those sensations is to close your eyes. This way your perception is narrowed to the hearing and body awareness.
If it feels right, it is right for you, and this is your bowl.
© Maranta Sound Academy