Sound Off #1: Shiny Golden Awesome (aka How To Pick A Singing Bowl)

Sound Off with Fabeku FatunmiseThis is the blog-ey bit where you get to toss out whatever sound-ey sort of questions you want, and I answer them.

Kind of like a Dear Abby for sound stuff.

But with less angst. More fun. And ninjas.

We can yack it up about how this sound stuff works.

Or get all geekity about instruments.

Or talk about punk rock. It’s totally up to you.

You ask. I answer. Easy-peasy.

And, if you’re really lucky, I may bust out my Barry Manilow impression on you sometime. Prepare to be wowed. Yeah, it’s that fabulous. (At the Copa, Copacabana… The hottest spot north of Havana…)

Ninja lurve!

I’ve gotten basically the same question from a ton of fabulous folks.

So it’s kind of a no-brainer to launch Sound Off with this bumped-into-a-bunch query.

And that would query be, “How in the world do I pick out the best singing bowl for me? I have no idea where to start. Help!”


I totally get how this can be kind of overwhelming.

Which sucks. Because singing bowls are all kinds of awesome.

And if you’re asking this question that means you think they’re awesome too. And you want more shiny golden awesome in your life.

So you start browsing the bowls. And it takes about 2.3 seconds before your head is spinning and you’re feeling twelve shades of ugh.

So many different bowls. So many different sounds. Too many frakking choices.

Ack!

So what do you do?

Nothing.

Not because you don’t want a bowl. But because you don’t know what to do.

Totally understandable. And totally normal.


Break it down (Hammer time)

Let’s try to sort this out. And make it as simple as possible.

There are a couple different schools of thought on this.

One that’s really helpful. And really effective.
And one that falls kind of flat on both fronts.

The falls-kind-of-flat school says that each chakra is connected to a specific note. And every bowl tuned to that note connects to the corresponding chakra. So, according to this logic, you should pick a bowl based on the chakra that connects to whatever’s going on with you.

Here’s how this shakes out.

You’re feeling disconnected and all wobbly-like.  So you grab a bowl tuned to the key of C. Because C is connected to the root chakra. And the root chakra helps you to get grounded.

But even though all this might sound good in theory, there are a ton of flaws with this model.

First of all, you may not know – or even care – what a chakra is. Much less what note matches which chakra, and which chakra matches whatever’s up with you.

And you don’t have to know. Or care.

Because learning about chakras is totally not a prerequisite for enjoying shiny golden awesome.

And there may not be anything up with you to begin with.

Maybe your just want to rock out on a bowl. Which makes sense. Because they’re gorgeous. And, hello,  gorgeous is good.

So having to wade through the whole chakra thing, when you really just want to hang out with a singing bowl is annoying. And tedious. And totally unnecessary.

Plus there’s the risk of drowning in woo woo. Which, if woo woo’s not your thing, can be pretty craptastic.


Four (totally wrong) assumptions

But drowning risks aside, this whole paint-by-chakra deal has plenty of other problems too. Because for all of this to make sense, four things have to be true:

  • Your energy has to be the same as mine. And everyone else’s.
  • The same kind of stuck has to have the same cause. And the same fix.
  • The bowl’s note is the only thing that matters.
  • Singing bowls have to be perfectly tuned.

The reality?

None of these things are true.

Everyone is different. So even if you’re into the chakra thing, my root chakra isn’t humming the same tune as yours. And your root chakra isn’t singing the same song as your neighbor’s.

And the idea that the same kind of stuck always has the same cause and the same fix?

Pretty much never.

I’ve worked with a bunch of folks who have dealt with the feeling-disconnected-and-all-wobbly-like bit. And in every single case, the why behind the stuck was completely unique. And so was the fix.

That’s true of every flavor of stuck I’ve run across.

Different causes. Different fixes. Every single time.

And the notion that the bowl’s note is all that matters?

Nuh uh.

Because if this were true then every C note would have the same effect. Regardless of its pitch. So a really high tinkle-ey C and a deep, bass-ey, boom-ey C would both make you feel grounded.

Wrong.

You don’t have to know anything about sound healing to get how fast that idea turns into a total fail.

And even if the note was the only thing that mattered, does that mean that Himalayan singing bowls are perfectly tuned to Western musical scales?

Snort.

They’re not.
They’re not supposed to be.
So finding a bowl with a perfect concert pitch is pretty rare.


I have good news and bad news

The bad news is that the pick-a-bowl-based-on-your-chakras deal is complicated. And headache-ey. And not very effective.

The good news is that you can totally toss that whole model.

Because there’s a way better way to pick bowls. It’s never failed me yet. And I’ve listened to a bajillion bowls.

Do you want to know the secret?

Pick a bowl that you really dig.

Yeah, that’s all there is to it.

I know it might be sexier if it was wrapped up in some esoteric chakra speak, or accompanied by complex tables that match notes to chakras and chakras to problems and blah blah blah.

But, really, the perfect bowl is the one you love. The one whose voice strikes a chord. The one that makes you feel good when you hear it.

And the coolest part is that you can figure this out right away. The second you hear the sound you’ll know how it lands with you.

So just close your eyes. Listen to the bowl. See how you feel.

And if the sound makes you feel good – whatever good means for you – then you’ve found a perfect match.

And when you find a bowl that makes you melt into a puddle of awesome?

Snag it. Play it. Love it. Repeat.

Because every bowl is unique. So if you find one that makes you feel all ooh-ey goo-ey gorgeous inside, grab it. And chances are you’ll never find another bowl with that same sound again.


K.I.S.S. (No, not the band)

See, this is so much simpler than the chakra stuff.

And it wildly increases your chances of meeting the perfect bowl. Because it’s all about you and your relationship to the sound. That’s where the real magic happens.

So just listen.

It’s the fastest, easiest and most delicious way to find the bowl of your dreams.

If you still feel stuck, you’re totally welcome to drop me a note. I’m always down with pointing you in the direction of some possible perfect matches, some places to start listening.

But I bet that when you bump into the perfect bowl, you’ll know it. Because it’s pretty much a case of you-had-me-at-hello.

So go forth and listen to these golden-ey orbs of pure lurve! Your perfect bowl is out there.

Ninja lurve!

What do ya wanna know?
Do you have questions about this sound stuff?
A query about one of the wild and wacky instruments that I use?
Just want to rap about something of an aural nature?

Coolness. Me too.

What are you waiting for? Get in touch.

Send me your questions. Share your musings. In the words of Information Society, tell me what’s on your mind.

Maybe your question will be included in a future Sound Off post. Which I can totally do all anonymous-like, if you want.

In case, you know, you’re enrolled in the witness protection program, or here from another planet or just a private-ey kind of person.

No worries. I get it.

So ask away.

You can also post your question in the comments here. That works too. Because I’m flexible like that.






Snag it. Play it. Love it. Repeat.

Because every bowl is unique. So when you find one that makes you feel all ooh-ey goo-ey gorgeous inside, grab it. Chances are you’ll probably never find another bowl that sounds like it.

This is so much simpler than the chakra stuff.

And it wildly increases your chances of meeting the perfect bowl. Because it’s all about you and your relationship to the sound. That’s where the real magic happens.

So just listen. It’s the fastest, easiest and best way to find the bowl of your dreams.

If you still feel stuck, you’re totally welcome to shoot me an email. I’m always down with pointing you in the direction of some possibilities, some places to start listening.

But I bet that when you bump into the perfect bowl, you’ll know it. Because it’s pretty much a case of love at first sight listen.

So go forth and listen to these golden-ey orbs of pure lurve.

What do ya wanna know?

Do you have questions about this sound stuff?

A query about one of the wild and wacky instruments that I use?
Just want to rap about something of an aural nature?

Coolness. Me too.

What are you waiting for? Get in touch.

Send me your questions. Share your musings. In the words of Information Society, tell me what’s on your mind.

I’d love to include your question in a future Sound Off post. Which I can totally do all anonymous like, if you want.

You know, in case you’re enrolled in the witness protection program, here from another planet or just a private-ey kind of person.

No worries. I get it.

So ask away.

Or just toss your question out in the comments below. That works too.

Dig this?

Sign up + don’t miss a drop. Email or RSS. Take your pick, tater.

8 Responses to Sound Off #1: Shiny Golden Awesome (aka How To Pick A Singing Bowl)
  1. Joely Black
    October 29, 2009 | 1:08 pm

    I’ve considered getting a bowl, I’m not sure it’s my thing yet, if you know what I mean.

    There is something I’d really like you to write about and that’s tingsha.

    I bought mine at a Buddhist temple in China from a collection of antiques, and they have dragons encircling the tops with sacred symbols (akin to the Om symbol) on the underside.

    I’d love for your thoughts on how to use them properly to get the greatest benefit.

    Thank you!
    .-= Joely Black´s last blog ..A 4.4.1: Feeling like Alice =-.

  2. Josiane
    October 29, 2009 | 1:13 pm

    “And even if the note was the only thing that mattered, does that mean that Himalayan singing bowls are perfectly tuned to Western musical scales?” — The “omg, that’s so true!” reaction I had to that question was immediately followed by this thought: the chakras have probably not been tuned to Western musical scales either… You’re totally right: better to keep listening and see which bowl turns us into a little ooh-ey goo-ey puddle of awesome!
    .-= Josiane´s last blog ..Noticing – the dragonfly edition =-.

  3. Christine Martell
    October 29, 2009 | 2:08 pm

    This is so much my experience. For each bowl I have, the minute I heard it, I knew it was right. They just resonate. It is a multi-level knowingness that just emerges.The sound is more complex with the overtones and such so that match the chakra pitch thing falls apart really fast.
    .-= Christine Martell´s last blog ..Actually Painting Every Day =-.

  4. Fabeku
    October 29, 2009 | 5:02 pm

    @Joely – I totally know what you mean about the I’m-not-sure-it’s-my-thing thing. I felt the same way for a long time. I got one bowl just to play with. And I pretty much fell head over heels. I’ve got 40+ bowls at this point. And yay you’ve got tingshas! They rock. And I’ll totally do something about them. I’m thinking a video may be more helpful. What do you think?

    @Josiane – Right on about the chakras not being tuned to the Western-ey musical thing too. I absolutely agree. There’s so much more happening than that. (Woohoo!) Listening is totally the way to go. There’s no substitute for our own first hand experience with the sound.

    @Christine – It really is an instantaneous Yep, that’s the one!, isn’t it? It’s like the sound rocks its way through every bit of who we are, and ends up as a big resounding YES! (Somehow this totally made me think of the Plinko game from the Price Is Right.) And you’re so right about the overtones. The metal bowls have all kinds of overtone-ey goodness. That’s a huge part of their mojo. And you’d never be able to match that up on a chakra chart.

  5. Katie Schroth
    October 29, 2009 | 6:17 pm

    Boy, I saw a lot of myself in this blog. For years I would think about or maybe even look at a singing bowl in a store. I wanted one, didn’t know how to pick one, didn’t think I could sing it, didn’t know you could gong it! Once in awhile I would get brave and ask a question and usually people weren’t too helpful. They basically didn’t know much either.

    Finally after reading your tweets, I decided to look more – sort of look in the privacy of my house on-line. I played all the lovely little sound bites and starting saying oh maybe this one. This one sounds nasty – maybe I need help and that’s the one. Then one day I am listening to all these wonderful bowls – they all sounded great and I was even more confused, but kept going. Then I listened to another sound bite from a bowl. WOW!!! My whole body started vibrating. It was incredible. Needless to say the bowl and I are now great friends. (Thanks for the wonderful video blog on how to sing a bowl).

  6. Ken Robert
    October 29, 2009 | 11:32 pm

    Given the nature of my own blog, it might surprise people to find out I”m not all that woo woo, which is why I love your blog. No woo woo prerequisites to partake in the joy of sound.
    .-= Ken Robert´s last blog ..Collect Your Thoughts – Things That Go Bump In Your Head =-.

  7. Fabeku
    October 30, 2009 | 10:33 am

    @Katie – You make a great point. Singing bowls can look pretty intimidating. The idea of making a hunk of metal sing like a choir of angels can be scary. I’m totally glad you dove in though and started checking it out. And I’m glad the video helped too. It doesn’t take long to get how fabulous these bowls are, does it? And the whole-body-vibrating bit? I totally get it.

    @Ken – Word on the not-all-that-woo-woo thing. Same here. And yeah, you’ll never find any woo-woo prerequisites here. Thankfully they’re totally unnecessary. Woohoo!

  8. elizabeth
    November 3, 2009 | 12:55 am

    I like your method. Maybe I can find a singing bowl. Though given no other help, my end method probably would’ve gone more like, “find the one that speaks to me” – in looks/aesethics. When in doubt, that seems to work pretty well (for computers anyway).
    .-= elizabeth´s last blog ..the great pumpkin =-.

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