During the Bronze Age of Ancient China (2500B.C. - 200 A.D.) the first bronze singing bowls were made in the Himalayan countries from a combination of metals, and may include in varying proportions gold, silver, mercury, copper, iron, tin and lead.
Anneke Huyser explains that and much more in her informative and useful book full of photos and illustrations: Singing Bowl Exercises for Personal Harmony.
Chapters cover these topics:
1. Sound is Energy. Sound is Color. Sound is Form. Sound Transforms Form. Sound Can Heal. 2. Bronze Singing Bowls, Individual and Unique Instruments. 3. Metals and Planets. 4. The Symbolism of the Planets and Colors. 5. Healing and Transformation. 6. Practical Uses for Singing Bowls.
I've used singing bowls for many years as a calming and centering practice in the periods before I sit in meditation. For me, it seems a beautiful prelude going from the outer harmonious tones of singing bowls to the inner melodies of meditation.
Ms. Huyser reminds us that bronze singing bowls each have their own tone and pitch depending on their size and thickness, so it is not possible to arrange a set of smaller to larger bowls to form the western musical scale.
Rather, each bowl rubbed or banged produces its own unique tones; illustrations give examples of various implements that can be used to produce sound with a singing bowl.
I have found that when I rub very gently and evenly around the outside top edge on my favorite singing bowl, that it produces a most melodious and subtle sound.
One of my adult daughters made the same motions on the same bowl and the tone was different - still harmonious, but evidently reflecting the differences in the pressure we each applied in our movement.
Instructions are given in the book on ways to select and get the most from your singing bowls. I think you'll find that as helpful as I did.
Now, after reading this little review, perhaps you'll be inspired to place a singing bowl on or alongside your meditation table for those times you need a bit of musical centering sound before meditating.
Details - 116 page paperback; 8.2 by 5.4 inches; published by Weiser Books (January 2000) ISBN: 9074597394
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Singing Bowl Exercises for Personal Harmony by Anneke Huyser