|Percussion 1 (L Upper)
Tibetan singing bowl
Cymbal (with stand)
Small Triangle (with stand)
Small Maracas (Chikitas)
4 Temple blocks (with stand)
Djembe (with stand)
Small Tenor Drum (Floor Tom]
|Percussion 2 (R Upper)
Tibetan singing bowl
Large Triangle (with stand)
Bongos (with stand)
Large Tenor Drum (Floor Tom]
|Percussion 3 (L Lower)
Tibetan singing bowl
4 Orchestral Tom-toms (with stands)
Orchestral bass drum
|Percussion 4 (R Lower)
Tibetan singing bowl
2 Cowbells (with stand)
Congas (with stand)
Bass drum (on side)
A sistrum (plural: sistrums, sistra) is a musical instrument of the percussion family, chiefly associated with ancient Egypt. It consists of a handle and a U-shaped metal frame, made of brass or bronze and between 10 and 30 cm in width. When shaken the small rings or loops of thin metal on its movable crossbars produce a sound that can range from a soft tinkling to a loud jangling.
The Egyptian sistrum
The sistrum was a sacred instrument in ancient Egypt. Perhaps originating in the worship of Bast, it was used in dances and religious ceremonies, particularly in the worship of the goddess Hathor, with the U-shape of the sistrum’s handle and frame seen as resembling the face and horns of the cow goddess. It was also shaken to avert the flooding of the Nile and to frighten away Set. Isis in her role as mother and creator was depicted holding a pail symbolizing the flooding of the Nile, in one hand and a sistrum in the other. The goddess Bast too is often depicted holding a sistrum, symbolizing her role as a goddess of dance, joy, and festivity.
Sistra are still used in the rites of the Coptic and Ethiopian churches. Besides the depiction in Egyptian art with dancing and expressions of joy, the sistrum was also mentioned in Egyptian literature. The hieroglyph for the sistrum is shown, but there are other varieties (sistrum and castanets).
The sistrum today
The sistrum was occasionally revived in 19th century Western orchestral music, appearing most prominently in Act 1 of the opera Les Troyens (1856-1858) by the French composer Hector Berlioz. Nowadays, however, it is replaced by its close modern equivalent, the tambourine. The effect produced by the sistrum in music – when shaken in short, sharp, rhythmic pulses – is to arouse movement and activity. The rhythmical shaking of the sistrum, like the tambourine, is associated with religious or ecstatic events, whether shaken as a sacred rattle in the worship of Hathor of ancient Egypt, or, in the strident jangling of the tambourine in modern-day Evangelism, in Gypsy song and dance, on stage at a rock concert, or to heighten a large-scale orchestral tutti.
Tibetan Singing Bowls
Tibetan Singing Bowls are a type of bell, specifically classified as a standing bell. Rather than hanging inverted or attached to a handle, singing bowls sit with the bottom surface resting. The sides and rim of singing bowls vibrate to produce sound characterized by a fundamental frequency (first harmonic) and usually two audible harmonic overtones (second and third harmonic). According to singing bowl researcher Joseph Feinstein, singing bowls were traditionally used in Asia and the tradition of making sound with bronze bowls could go back 3,000 or more years to the Bronze Age.
Singing bowls are used worldwide for meditation, music, relaxation, and personal well-being. They are used by a wide range of professionals, including health professionals, school teachers, musicians and spiritual teachers. Singing bowls are used in health care by sound healers, psychotherapists, massage therapists, cancer specialists, stress and meditation specialists. They are used to help treat cancer patients and also for post traumatic stress disorder. They are popular in classrooms to help facilitate group activities and focus students’ attention.
Singing bowls were historically made throughout Asia, especially Nepal, China and Japan. They are closely related to decorative bells made along the silk road from the Near East to Western Asia. Today they are made in Nepal, India, Japan,
Antique singing bowls produce harmonic overtones creating an effect that is unique to the instrument. The subtle yet complex multiple harmonic frequencies are a special quality caused by variations in the shape of the hand made singing bowls. The art of making singing bowls in the traditional way is often called a lost art, but traditional craftsmen still make singing bowls in the traditional manner. They are one of the longest made traditional objects still being made today.
Antique singing bowls are highly prized and collected worldwide, due to their fine craftsmanship and remarkable sound. They may display abstract decorations like lines, rings and circles engraved into the surface. Decoration may appear outside the rim, inside the bottom, around the top of the rim and sometimes on the outside bottom.
Very few antique singing bowls are available today. Many websites sell new singing bowls and call them “old” or “antique” without any real information about the age. Some sellers say the age is unknown or use vague terms such as “old” or “antique.” The issue is complicated because most singing bowls for sale are new but may look similar to real antiques. They are often sold at the source in Asia as “old” and Western sellers pass on this misinformation to consumers. Most sellers are simply merchants with no real knowledge of the objects, so there is a lot of misinformation about these objects on the web. Like other antique objects, singing bowls can easily be dated by experienced experts. However, there are very few real experts.
Singing bowl researcher Joseph Feinstein and Oxford University recently conducted a joint study and concluded that singing bowls have been made in the Himalayan region for at least 600–800 years, and are likely related to bronze bowls produced in Central and Western Asia. Extensive metallurgical analysis by Feinstein’s company Himalayan Bowls and Oxford University has discovered that the bowls are made from “high tin bronze,” also known as “bell metal bronze,” which is a pure mixture of copper and tin. Contrary to popular folklore, there is no evidence to support the claims that singing bowls contain “7 metals” (Joseph Feinstein, 2011).
China and Korea.
1 Hold the singing bowl on the palm of the left hand. For smaller bowls, seven inches and under, hold on your fingertips.
2 Grasp the mallet about mid-length, with all the fingertips pointing downwards and touching the wood. (If you are using one of our padded mallets, the red wool should be on top.) Palm downward.
3 Gently tap the mallet against the side of the bowl to “warm-up” the bell.
4 With an even pressure, rub the mallet clockwise around the outside edge of the rim of the bowl. Use a full arm movement, just like stirring a big kettle of soup, and keep the mallet straight up and down! Again, it’s not a wrist movement, but a full-arm movement.
Remember to apply pressure— the friction of the mallet against the outer rim produces vibrations which result in sound.
Experiment with your speed. Usually people go too fast! Let the sound build up slowly as the singing bowl picks up the vibration.