Years ago, a clinical psychologist commissioned me to assemble a seven-piece set of antique, Highwall singing bowls, tuned on the rim tones to the Diatonic scale. At the time, Western pop culture dictated that the Diatonic scale was tuned to the seven Chakras, making her request a Crown Chakra set.
When we started the project in 2006, I knew this would be a challenging request. As antique bowls were hand-forged, each variation in their diameter, height and thickness produced different tonal relationships between the fundamentals (a bowl’s lowest voice) and rim tones (its highest voice). Plus, each singing bowl’s thickness and diameter affect its pitch and volume. So the bowls on the deeper end of the set would have to be larger – to create more volume – and smaller on the higher end – to produce the higher pitches. That meant I needed to find seven Highwalls with concert-pitch proximate rim tones in the Diatonic scale that were consistent enough in all of these criteria to make a set.
Even though this type of material was plentiful when we started back in 2006, we could still only find an average of 15 – 20 Master-quality Highwalls per collection. In those days, I never released a set until it was complete so that I could continue to refine my selection if better options became available in subsequent collections. To create this matched set, I would need to choose from hundreds of Highwalls to find enough consistently shaped ones. That could mean multiple trips to Nepal for it to come together, which would take years. But, my customer was resolute – and willing to wait.
In a fluke of luck that seems improbable now, we started with a group of four from one collection: the C, D, E and F, which would become the foundation of the set. They were all 11″ in diameter – making their match even more unlikely! Their identical diameters meant that the only way they could be tuned to a Diatonic scale was that each had to be progressively thicker enough to produce the ascending frequencies of the scale. But there they were, giving us the courage to continue the search! Then came the hard part – waiting for the other bowls to show up. Over the next few years, the G, A, and B rims made their appearances. Finally, in March of 2010, the high C octave piece appeared. It was the first complete antique Highwall set we had ever assembled in our company’s history, and to this day, we have only completed a handful of them.
I figured we had to celebrate! So over the next couple of evenings, I composed a piece to best capture the harmonies of the bowls’ combined strikes, isolated fundamentals, rim tones, and intervals. My deepest gratitude to our customer, Lynn Williams, for her steadfast patience as this set came together over the course of four years. I hope that it will bring peace to all who hear it!
If you would like to explore ordering a singing bowl set, please visit Bodhisattva’s Available Sets page or contact us at email@example.com.