brian capleton


small singing bowl




Headphones Essential!

(please turn your volume down first!)

Listening to Singing Bowls

Audible musical ingredients (partials) don't always occur in the harmonic series (or something approximating to it), as they do in strings and pipes.

One of the best instruments for hearing clear, audible partials, is the singing bowl. Below is a recording of a small, high-quality bowl Tibetan bowl:


The first three distinct partials that can be heard independently are:




Hearing each one isolated, first, like this, should make it easier to hear in the sound of the bowl.

With practice, you may find that you can focus on any one of these ingredients at will, whilst listening to the sound of the bowl. It is also possible to hear the sound of the bowl as a whole, at the same time as hearing all three ingredients separately. This is a much more conscious state of listening.

You'll notice that all three illustrated partials have a "beat" or "warble" (amplitude modulation). Singing bowl partials typically (but not always) do this.

In this bowl, the 1st partial has a delta brain-wave rhythm, the 2nd partial a theta brain-wave rhythm, and the 3rd partial an alpha brain-wave rhythm. The alpha-rhythm of this bowl is the same as the brain-wave rhythm associated with meditation induction, or the alert, relaxed state - 7.5 to 8 Hz. For more on brain-wave rhythms, see here.

For more on this bowl, see Rim Tone and Strike Tone.

© Brian Capleton 2016
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