The Audio Clips
All the bowls on this website have been metered with the excellent strobe tuner ‘iStroboSoft’ and recorded as MP3 files with a Zoom Stereo Recorder. Audio clips are made when the bowl is struck on the outside wall with a padded mallet, and played around the rim with a suede and wooden ringer. Bowls are recorded hand-held or placed on a cushion if large or heavy. The metered numbers are then located on a chart that lists the exact frequency for every perfect pitch note in every octave, so that I can identify and name a bowl’s voice with some degree of confidence. Finally, the audio clips are edited together into a single file using Vector 3 software.
Antique singing bowls are complex multi-harmonic instruments and their fundamental note and harmonics are sometimes difficult to determine and record. This is usually when the fundamental sits equidistant between two adjacent notes and fluctuates between the two. Playing around the rim with a suede ringer will often determine which of the two is more dominant. A wooden ringer will generally produce an entirely different note in a higher octave and frequency. Additional harmonics may also be present and heard simultaneously…some of these can be very subtle.
The first sound is the bowl’s fundamental note, or first harmonic. This is the note one hears when the bowl is struck on or just below the rim with a padded mallet. Usually the bowl is struck three times, with the last note the longest. The bowls have very long sustains, in which case it might be abbreviated to reduce the file size.
This is followed by the second harmonic, or rim note. This is the dominant note produced when the bowl is played or rubbed around the rim with a suede or leather-covered ringer. This is often the same note as the fundamental, but it may be a different note entirely. Occasionally a bowl will not readily respond to a suede ringer, in which case a wooden one will be used.
The last sound on the sample is usually the note produced when the bowl is played around the rim with a plain wooden ringer. This will frequently be an entirely different note to the fundamental and suede rim notes, and is usually a higher frequency and octave. Where a bowl’s fundamental and rim notes differ, they may all be used for sound therapy and on associated chakras.