The first question that arise in mind after buying a singing bowl is “How do I play a Singing Bowl? This is the first query our customers have who are new to singing bowl. Playing a Himalayas Singing bowl can be challenging at the beginning but once you practice for couple of days it will be fun, easy and Relaxing.
There are two most common way to play a singing bowl. The first method is striking the side of the singing bowl with a mallet and the second one is to rub the rim of the singing bowl with a mallet. In this blog we will guide you in detail on how to play a singing bowl on both the method.
Method 1: Striking the side of the Bowl
This method is the easiest way to play a singing bowl.
1. Hold the singing bowl in the palm of your non dominant hand making sure that your fingers do not touches the rim (as it might reduce vibration) and side of bowl and the mallet in your dominant hand.
2. Hold the mallet like a holding a stick or a baton and strike the singnig bowl lightly on the mid exterior wall (just below the rim of the singing bowl).
3. Once strikes, bowl will produce a pleasant and rich tone.
4. For best result we recommend to strike the singing bowl once and let sound and vibration fully dissipate before striking again.
Method 2: Rubbing the rim of the singing bowl
Compared to striking method, this method can be challenging at the beginning but can be easily mastered with few practices. All you need is a little patience and smooth flow of your hand.
1. To begin with, seat in relaxed position with straight spine and maintaining a natural breath.
2. Place the singing bowl in palm of your non dominant hand and mallet on your dominant hand.
3. Grip the mallet like gripping the pen, then grip in the center of the mallet with forefinger and thump with padded end of the mallet gently resting in between the thumb and fore finger.
4. After that, gently tap the singing bowl on the outer rim, once the vibration dissipates, position the mallet vertically on the rim of the singing bowl and begin to the rim on clockwise motion with even pressure.
5. Use a full arm movement, just like stirring a big kettle of soup, and keep the mallet straight in up and down position! Again, it’s not a wrist movement, but a full-arm movement.
Remember to apply even pressure- the friction of the mallet against the outer rim produces vibrations which result in sound.
Note: If you don’t start to circle the singing bowl as soon as you strike the initial sound will be dampened and will be difficult to make bowl sing.
6. Circle the bowl at least 5-7 times using full arm movement until you hear a female overtone build. It’s important to keep the mallet vertical.
7. Once the female overtone builds slow your speed and make firmer contact between the mallet and rim. As you continue, the female overtone will sound pleasant and clear. But most importantly it’s necessary to apply pressure firmly all around the rim as the friction between the mallet and bowl produces vibrations which result in the singing sound.
If you are comfortable after few practices, you can avoid the striking of singing bowl on the rim and start rimming the mallet evenly on singing bowl.
There are two most used advanced techniques for playing the singing bowl.
Water Bowl Techniques
We can produce special sound by adding a small amount of water on the bottom of singing bowl. This technique produces the sound like a dolphin’s singings.
1. Pour about 3/4th of the water into a bowl. The amount of water to be used varies with individual bowl. But make sure not to get the outside of the rim wet.
2. Now play the bowl using the rimming method as above.
3. Tilt the bowl slightly so the water moves towards the rim. Continue tilting the bowl until the water begins to swirl.
4. Afterwards empty the bowl and dry thoroughly.
When you use this technique to play the Himalayas singing bowl, try different amounts of water to see different effects. Different amount of water produces different types of sound.
The Wah- Wah Technique
Almost all of the Himalayas Singing bowl have natural wah- wah sound, by applying simple technique we can amplify and bend the wah-wah sound.
1. First get the bowl singing by using the rimming technique, once bowl start to sing pull the mallet away from the bowl and let bowl continue to sing.
2. Now holding still, the bowl in your hand, raise it up to your mouth so that outer rim of the bowl is just an inch away from your mouth.
3. Open and close your mouth thinking wah- wah sound. In this process you are not actually making the sound but just changing the shape of the oral cavity. Doing such will allow the sound of the singing bowl to bounce around and inside of your mouth and then reflected back. By changing the size of oral cavity, the sound of singing bowl is being modulating.
While performing this technique, experiment with the relative position of your mouth to the outside rim of the bowl. Also turn the bowl as you will discover the “hot spots” where the singing of bowl is naturally louder.