Mysterious singing bowl demonstrated by shop owner in India

Singing bowls have captured our interest for decades for many reasons. We are fascinated by their ability to produce a single, resonating musical note by rotating a mallet around the rim. Popular in yoga, music therapy, meditation and relaxation, these have become known as Tibetan Singing Bowls.

The origin of these bowls is actually China. They are believed to have been used originally to portion out rice and their use in music is a relatively modern phenomenon. But many argue that there is no obvious reason to make a metal bowl so thick and that there would be no purpose to pay such close attention to their acoustic properties when manufacturing them.

Musically, they are classified as a bell because the maximum vibration that produces the ringing sound occurs on the rim, as opposed to being in the centre, as in a gong. The volume of the sustained note depends on the speed the mallet is moved, as well as the amount of pressure applied.

This singing bell was found by two Canadian tourists who were making their way from Jaipur, India to Delhi prior to the travel concerns that we now face. They stopped at a restaurant with an attached store and joined Sanjay, the owner for a tour while their food was being prepared. One of the most interesting items was this bowl, accompanied by a very skilled demonstration of how it works best. He struck the bowl lightly with the mallet and then used the rotation of the mallet to sustain and build on it.

Of course, after such an enthusiastic performance, the sale was guaranteed. This bowl was brought home as a souvenir and gift for a family member.