Singing Bowls

Every so often a singing bowl from the pictures thread catches my attention, then I go looking and get a little overwhelmed. Still, very interested, so let’s talk a little about singing bowls? What would be good ones to look into? Not much preference other than avoiding too ornamental designs, or the smallest/largest of bowls; going after tone, but not in the spiritual sense… How do you use them in your art? Thanks in advance!


Following with interest! Although I’ve not seen heard them, a friend told me about how impressed she was with clear crystal singing bowls.

I’m a bit of a bell collector and bought my first singing bowl a few years ago because I was so impressed with the clarity of its tone (perfectly flat, no beats when struck). I think, like any musical instrument, one chooses best based on what is pleasing to oneself. Play them, whack them, hold them – a lot of them. The materials, shapes, manufacture, all vary widely and, consequently, result in widely different sounds. As they tend to be expensive, it’s worth your while to spend some time figuring out what you like, before you lay down cash.

Two technical points: First, for a lot of folks, playing them – making them “sing” – takes some practice. If you don’t already have the hand for it, spend a little time learning; I have friends and family who simply can’t seem to get the knack, so you might want to make sure you can do that, again, before laying out cash.

Second, if you plan to record it, be sure to do so with at least two channels. The bowls’ nodes move with the playing stick, so part of the magic of their sound is from your ears hearing the interference between the two vibrating fundaments; a mono recording won’t pick that up. Sounds flat and uninteresting as hell with a single mic.

Keep us posted on what you do!


Now I finally know why turning my head while listening to it feels so good :blush:!

I’d reiterate that you want to find some place that let’s you try out a bunch of them. Through careful listening you will hear all kinds of little intricacies - some bowls have tiny internal fractures or air bubbles that were created during their making. These can result in very slight buzzing at certain playing intensities. So make sure to spend some time to find a singing bowl that you really like!

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Is it the norm that the handcrafted metallic ones do not correspond to a particular (western) note? It’s so pleasant to listen to them, and listen for hours I did, but always at some point my reasoning kicks in with thoughts about how I could or couldn’t integrate this in my existing setup. Then there are the mallets…

I bought a small cheap one on ebay a few years ago. I tend to use it mainly for keeping screws in.

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I have been interested in getting a quartz bowl for some time now. I like the idea of tuning to the bowl and composing around the drone. Need to do a bit more reading into which frequency / chakra I want to get though…

A bit off topic but also sort of relevant as it pertains to choosing a bowl - does anyone around here use 432 hz? My o’tool has the option which i have tried a couple times but I often stick to 440 out of habit. Really interested in learning more about 432 and sound healing in general.


I have been unable to find any reason to think of 432Hz as a “special” frequency.


I respect that 432 is belief territory, not limited to singing bowls, and very much outside of the original sonic angle of this thread. I think no amount of rational argument can change people’s minds about it.

Back to singing bowls, very interested in this pic @Ujin_Kim posted, wish it was a video. Wonder if it sounded in tune at all, or that generally doesn’t matter in that (microtonal) context. Almost like, sets are expensive, can you mix and match and/or how much of a gamble is it, trying to find bowls that would complement each other.

These are the nicest ones I’ve found: Bodhisattva I have two of them. I like that they sample each one. Read this: The Devil’s Tritone.

I found this article on the suject of so called “tibetan signing bowls” very interesting.
Of course I have no means to verify if what the article claims is fact of fiction, but it makes much more sense to me, than everything else I’ve read about them on the web. Also the article is well written, detailed. Worth a read one way or the other imho.


Yesterday I played some singing bowls and was really struck by the idea of using with norns MLR. Anyone tried this?

Great article. Without digging, it seems legit, with language smacking (loudly) of a young, opinionated PhD candidate. Certainly, the writer’s discussion of cultural appropriation dynamics was insightful and rich. Thanks for posting!