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Sah Pen Pah Meditation
Sah Pen Pah Meditation
In the Fall of 2010, I was given a Tibetan Singing Bowl. The rapturously beautiful sounds of its body and rim were the inspiration for the electronic musical composition. Originally, I intended to use just one bowl and alter the pitch to create a working scale upon which to build a lyric piece. After working under that premise for a few days, something just didn’t seem right. The alterations had less depth of “soul” and I had to abandon that modus.
Instead, I opted to record nine bowls whose sound has not been electronically altered in any way other than volume, panning, and clipping of the longer recordings. A few of the bowls rang for nearly two minutes as the lower tones emerged from the background. My largest bowl, for instance, continues to sing up to 90 seconds after it is last struck. The longer the ring, the deeper the effect. Even the wavering of the tones and the wah-wah effect of vibrational volume is unaltered. These are truly the actual sounds emanating from the bowls when they are struck and “rubbed” with a suede-covered rod.
The mp3 files were created as I played my bowls and recorded into Logic Express software using a condenser microphone. The bowl collection I employed is a C major scale, though with their harmonics, they cover the entire spectrum. It’s not a perfect concert scale, which annoyed my ear, so I attempted “tuning” them with Logic’s Pitch Shifter II plug-in. There again was the loss of “soul,” so I decided to let them be themselves.
Throughout the main body of the piece, I electronically combined tones to play off each other, fascinated with their harmonic combinations. The composition premiered in a recital hall of my university in December of 2010. I can only imagine how much more powerful the experience would be if they were played live together in the same room instead of using digital recordings. Even so, the recordings affected each other in very interesting ways, as you will hear. At 3’31”, near the end of the piece, each bowl is sounded in a rising scale for identification. As they ring together, their combined harmonics build a wall of sound that still allows for each bowl’s individuality and depth of character to show through.
The title of the piece, Sah Pen Pah Meditation, comes from Sanskrit meaning Saturn. I imagined striking individual rings of Saturn and watching them vibrate and, like ripples in a pool of water, bounce off and through each other in the vastness of space.
Total length of the piece is 4’48”. At some time, I would like to attempt a composition of at least 20 minutes for a worthy meditation.
I invite you to close your eyes as you listen to the bowls and allow them to do their work.
Comments for "Singing Bowls"
License details for "Singing Bowls"
Creative Commons Sampling Plus 1.0 License.
List of audio files used:
- Hourlychimebeg.mp3 by "hyderpotter from http://freesound.org" +)
- Soft Lake Waves by Benboncan freesound.org +)
- Tree Frogs by Benboncan of the Freesound Project +)
- meadow with crickets by Ilexi at freesound.org +)
- Water_drip_river by m_O_m from http://freesound.org +)
- Sah Pen Pah by Margo Kanthak +)
- Morning Forest Rain Remaster by Torgeirr +)
- Distant Thunder by Unknown +)