"A toast like a toast." "There are bowls like that for sale at Ikea." "I found a really nice looking singing bowl at a mail order." "You can even bang pots and pans."
There have been comments like this and now I felt that maybe the topic should be opened up a bit :)
Vibroacoustic therapy has been used in music therapy for decades. Training and research is well advanced and Finns have been prolific pioneers in the field. For more information, see theVibrac Research and Training Centre. At the heart of vibroacoustic therapy is a machine-generated pure blue sound, where sound waves are introduced into the body through a special mattress or chair.
Singing bowls also produce vibroacoustic sound, but as musical instruments, their sound contains a melodic element in addition to the rhythmic sound wave. The melodic sound is not stripped down and 'pure' like the sine wave, but is in fact polyphonic in what are known as 'upper chords'. The overtone series are created when a fundamental vibration generates a collection of different vibrations. They can be called a kind of 'multiple layers' of fundamental frequency, whereby the sound becomes a rich and multi-nuanced vibration. The richness of the harmonic series depends, among other things, on the metals used in the bowl, their mixing ratio, and the size and thickness of the sound bowls. Each handcrafted bowl is therefore unique, with a different timbre and vibroacoustic frequency of the upper range.
Bowls were already being made in India in 1600 BC, so this is not a new invention. Lightweight bowls may have two or three metals, but higher quality and thicker ones may have six or seven. The most common metals are tin, copper and iron, in varying proportions depending on the factor. The purity of the metals is an essential part of the construction of the tone. The forging of bowls requires a great deal of skill and it takes many hours of work by several craftsmen to make a single bowl. The secrets of traditional craftsmanship are passed down through the generations and the 'recipes' of carefully selected alloys are not to be divulged.
At Myllytalo, after much research and deliberation, we decided to use instruments tested and recommended by the Peter Hess Institute . In addition to the quality mentioned above, ethics was also a factor. We wanted to be sure that the money from the craftsmanship would go to the makers in the way they deserved, and the possibility of child labour was ruled out.
Vibration produces a sympathetic vibration or resonance when it encounters another material. Because we are each different recipients of vibration, different bowls resonate differently within us. As an old violinist, I could not imagine buying a violin from a mail order. It is essential for me to feel the instrument with my body, to experience its vibration and tone before making a purchase decision. The same principle has led us to choose our own instruments. Each instrument is carefully tried and tested before the purchase decision is made. We were able to do this at the Peter Hess Finnish Academy at Medi-Sound in Helsinki, where we have also been trained in the use of sound bowls.
There's a lot of different types of horns out there, but so are we human beings. There's bound to be one for everyone, if and when the time comes to buy :) Fortunately, you can enjoy singing bowls without owning them. You are warmly welcome to join us for individual or paired singing bowl retreats and group singing bowl retreats. We promise to take good care of you <3
Hämeenlinna 22.2.2023, Kirsi-hostess