The Overtone Instruments
The Singing Bowls
Mayadevi bought her Tibetan Singing Bowls in 1981, and has since then been using them in healing sessions, avant-garde performances and for meditation music.
The origin and use of the Tibetan bowls is very vague.
In the buddhistic culture, a monk is ordained with an orange robe and one bowl. This bowl is used for begging for food - and to support the meditation. A soft touch on the bowl produces a mantra-like sound.
The bowls are made from a mixture of metals. The blend of metals determines the range of overtones. Each planet "rules" over its own metal.
The Sun is connected to gold, the Moon to silver, Venus to copper, Mercurius to mercury, Mars to iron, Jupiter to tin and Saturn to led.
This might explain the continious changing range of overtones (as the movement of planet changes the influence on the metals) of a set of bowls.
Some nights, one bowls sings and sings and on another night there seems to come no tone out of it.
In this way, the bowls seem to reflect the Cosmic Sound.
"I bought my sitar in Bombay in 1980. I met a rickshaw driver whom just had bought a guitar. He asked me if I could teach him some chords. He himself played sitar. For the next two days we learned from each other all that can be learned in two days.
Once back home, I had the instrument standing in the corner of my living room. From time to time I played on it, casually touching the strings to enjoy the rich tone and overtones. I found out after a couple of months that it was exactly what I had been looking for, for such a long time…
That way of playing gave me the sensation of listening to what was played. I experienced that my hands were moving without me actually moving them. Actually, the sitar showed me the way, step by step.
Inspired by the classical Indian music, I gave myself the freedom to further explore and improvise. I soon realized I was mostly drawn to the “Alap” parts of a Raga. Simple strokes of the different notes of the given scale – without any development in melody or rhythm."
Shintai has programmed the sound of the instrument so that it melts completely with the sound of the bowls. He never changes sounds during a recording or a concert. In this way, the synthesizer sounds organic.