About the Audio Clips


Every single singing bowl on this website is accompanied by a unique audio recording of that actual bowl.


Assigning Fundamental Notes and Harmonics:


Antique singing bowls are complex multi-harmonic instruments and it often proves quite difficult to accurately determine a bowl’s fundamental note and its other harmonics without the aid of some digital technology.   I use a Korg Orchestral Tuner to help assign notes and their octaves, but frequently find myself checking the results on my piano because the tuner sometimes favours a secondary harmonic when in fact the primary sound one hears is another note altogether.  It doesn’t help that some bowls switch dominant harmonics according to the type of ringer used and the method of play.  My best advice is to listen to the audio samples and decide for yourself.


Update: A regular visitor to this website very kindly sent me the iStroboSoft iPhone app for Christmas (thank you Daz) and this excellent strobe tuner is proving to be an invaluable aid when attempting to identify a bowl’s note and octave.  I thoroughly recommend it.


The Audio Samples:


The mp3 audio samples on this website have been made using a Zoom Stereo Recorder and edited with Audacity software.  Most of the audio files are composed of several sound bites or clips separated by a short pause.  A single sound bite will always be the struck note, a double will be a struck note and a played rim note using a leather ringer, and a triple sound bite will finish with a rim note using a wooden ringer.  Additional harmonics may also be present and heard simultaneously...some of these can be very subtle.


The Clips:


The first sound is the bowl's fundamental note, or first harmonic.  This is the sound one hears when the bowl is struck on or just below the rim with a padded mallet.  Sometimes the bowl is struck a second time.  The duration of the note is nearly always abbreviated to reduce the size of the file.


The next sound is the second harmonic, or rim note.  This is the dominant note produced when the bowl is played or rubbed around the rim with a leather-covered ringer.  This is often the same note as the fundamental, but it may be a different note entirely.  Occasionally a bowl will not readily respond to a leather ringer, in which case a wooden one will be used.


The last sound on the sample is usually the note produced when the bowl is played around the rim with a plain wooden ringer.  This will frequently be an entirely different note to the fundamental, and is usually a higher octave.    Where a bowl’s fundamental and rim notes differ, both may be used on associated chakras.  You will need to listen to the sound bites and read a bowl’s full description to discover how versatile it is.


Note: A brief description of each audio sample is given beneath the audio PLAY button associated with every singing bowl.  The sound clips are best heard through headphones.



Antique Singing Bowls - The Book


Fred Wilkinson is currently writing a book ‘Antique Singing Bowls’.  It will focus on the various types of hand-forged antique Tibetan and Himalayan singing bowl, and their unique physical and sonic characteristics.  It will also offer practical guidance on choosing, playing, and collecting rare antique singing bowls, and will be extensively illustrated with photographs of bowls from this private collection.  If you would like to receive advance notice of its publication date please sign up for our occasional newsletter here.