Sandra Sluberski is a friend of The Ohm Store, Brand Ambassador, music theory expert and veteran 22 year voice teacher. In this combination video and article, Sandra shares with us how she utilizes her singing bowls.
“I had only two singing bowls before I discovered The Ohm Store, and since then, my collection has grown to nine singing bowls. Gradually, I'm trying to add a few more as I go along. I use them as a yoga teacher for an online yoga studio, and also teaching yoga at a music school where I've been on the voice faculty for 22 years.
When I teach chanting in Sanskrit or singing mantras, I use the bowls to give examples of pitches. One of the nice things about the bowls is the fact that they can be done as a single struck note with a decay. A decay is that if the note fades out, it can be sustained by rubbing the striker around the end of the bowl, and the sustained note can be made louder or softer, depending on pacing.
Most of my students haven't heard Tibetan singing bowls; they've never even heard of them but they end up being drawn at first by the sound. As they feel pulled to get closer, they want to handle the bowls - to really feel them. When the bowl is struck, they want to put it right up to their ears or put it in the middle of their forehead so they can hear it in stereo. The fascination with just the magic of the vibration and the tone really draws them in.
Sandra goes on, interacting with students and instructing them on the way of the bell.
Think of these as handbells, because you would strike them and hold them rather than having a handle on it. If you just welded a handle to it, there's a handbell. These came from the ancient begging bowl of the wandering sages and monks of ancient Buddhism, but those bowls initially were made out of wood. However, they found that by making out of metal, it could also be used as a way to meditate.
I use a paper journal from The Ohm Store to keep track of each of my bowls and I list which pitch they're at. Some of the bowls sit in between pitches, but I do need to know their pitches because there are times when I want the bowls to be harmonious. For instance, these two bowls (picks up bowls) and these two bowls (picks up bowls), are very harmonious because they're tuned to what our Western ears think of as harmony.
I can also go for a minor sort of feeling and luckily these bowls are lined up to give me roughly a minor chord.
Sandra has sent us her chart (it is important to note that each bowl, even the same model, can produce distinct notes as each bowl is totally unique. Your bowl may strike different than Sandra’s) which shows:
Ancient Self Ohm: B Flat (3rd interval)
Sunset Bowl: E Flat (4th interval)
Buddha Bowl: B Flat (4th interval)
Lingam Bowl: D Flat (5th Interval)
First Original Ohm: D Flat (5th Interval)
2nd Original Ohm: F
Purity Bowl: A Sharp / B Flat
Ancient + Purity: When Singing Together, they match pitch. When struck, they are dissonant.
It also helps me to keep track of which chakras are associated with which pitches. Then, I have a chart of the different singing bowls and how they can be combined to make different chords if I want to go for harmony or scales. So I'm always looking for new and different ways to apply the bowls, so that people can be drawn in by something accessible that they can relate to. I am so grateful for The Ohm Store and what Frank, Nikki and Stephanie are doing.
This last chart shows me different orders that I use most often for the bowls. The five bowls in the first line make a B minor scale of five notes. The three bowls on the bottom line make an E flat major triad.”
Buddha Bowl + Ancient Self - B Flat, different octaves
Buddha, Lingam, 1st Original Ohm, 5 Buddhas, 2nd Original Ohm - 5 note B flat minor scale