Singing bowls are some pretty neat items indeed. Some would classify them as musical instruments, some would call them meditation and yoga aids, and some would say that they are all of the above, plus much more.
However, at its heart, the singing bowl is a musical instrument, one that can produce various notes, tones, and frequencies.
What kinds of tones and what frequency a specific singing bowl can produce does depend on a variety of factors including the size and thickness of the bowl, what it is made of, and how it is played.
Today, we want to take a closer look at singing bowl frequencies and tones, to help you find out what these Tibetan relics can do and how they sound.
Singing Bowl Frequency
One of the reasons why Tibetan singing bowls are so popular is because they are said to be able to help heal the soul, the mind, and the body, and a lot of this has to do with their frequencies that they create when being played.
Here, the frequency is actually how many times per second the singing bowl vibrates, and the higher the frequency, the faster the vibrations. The point here is that different frequencies and vibration speeds can affect how a signing bowl works, how it affects your mind and body.
Generally speaking, Tibetan singing bowls do have relatively high frequencies, rarely under 70 Hz, as they do generally vibrate pretty quickly.
To put this in perspective, in terms of what you actually hear, a bass drum vibrates about 20 times per second, which is slow enough to see on the drum, and very deep in sound as well.
Moreover, the first Octave C is roughly 32 Hz, with the first Octave A (the lowest key on a piano), coming in at about 70 Hz.
What’s also important to note is that people are able to hear 20 to 20,000 Hz, but usually no lower and no higher.
When it comes to Tibetan singing bowls, you can expect their frequencies to be anywhere from 110 Hz to 660 Hz, but in rare cases may be as high as 900+ Hz.
Measuring and Assigning Singing Bowl Frequency
One of the issues with Tibetan singing bowls and their frequencies is that you really cannot assign a specific frequency to any one singing bowl. Sure, each signing bowl has a specific range.
Some might have a frequency range of 50 Hz to 500 Hz, but the main point here is that no singing bowl just produces one single frequency.
Which frequency a singing bowl produces at any given time depends on how it is played, among other factors.
For instance, if you strike a singing bowl deeper down towards the base, where it is thicker, it should vibrate more, and moreover, the thicker a singing bowl is (the walls), the higher the pitch will be.
That said, the top of a singing bowl will generally be a bit thinner than the bottom, so it stands to reason that striking the top produces a lower frequency than striking further down the bowl.
Another thing that affects Tibetan singing bowl frequency is the diameter. The larger the diameter of the singing bowl in question, the higher the pitch will be.
It therefore also stands to reason that how hard the singing bowl is struck, also affects the frequency it produces. The harder you hit the bowl, the more it vibrates, the higher the frequency.
Singing Bowl Frequency and Pitch
What can often be a bit confusing is the difference between frequency and pitch, two words which are sometimes used interchangeably. Now, these two words realistically describe the same thing, but from different viewpoints.
What we mean is that frequency is used to describe the physical soundwave (such as the vibrations you can see on a bass drum), whereas pitch is used to describe the actual sound produced, that high or low sound that you hear.
In terms of singing bowls, the pitch on these is generally not overly high, and it’s because their frequency usually tops out at 900 Hz maximum.
Tibetan singing bowls can produce fairly deep and resonating sounds, as well as fairly high-pitched sounds too (but not too high).
Singing Bowl Tone and Notes
What can also be a bit confusing is the distinction between tone and note, and yes, these two words are often used interchangeably as well. The relationship between pitch and tone can also be confusing. Ok, so a note is actually just a pitch with a name.
For instance, a pitch of 440 Hz is known as the note A4, with 880 Hz being known as the note of A5. In terms of tone, most people use “note” and “tone” interchangeably, and this is totally fair, so we will leave it at that for the purposes of this article.
That said, whether you want to call it a tone or a note, Tibetan singing bowls can produce various ones. For the most part, Tibetan singing bowls are designed to produce seven notes on the C major scale, which are C, D, E, F, G, A and B.
Most singing bowls produce a specific note, whereas other can produce more than one, and some, such as crystal singing bowls, can sometimes even be tuned to play different notes.
The other important thing to note is that the seven notes on the C major scale all correspond to a different chakra, and as you probably know, chakra is all about healing the mind, soul, and body.
There you have it, a little combination lesson about singing bowls and musical terms! We hope that we have managed to help you clear up a bit of confusion, so you can choose the singing bowl that is best for you.