by Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou
One great way of sharing cultures is to explore the different instruments that are found in various countries around the world. Many American children learn how to play piano and other traditional instruments, but if you were to visit the area around China, Tibet, Nepal or Northern India, you might see some really unique instruments including a bowl that sings, and small cymbals attached to a string that are carefully struck together to make a sound like a beautiful bell. Let’s learn about these two unique instruments, and listen to the sounds they make.
First there’s the singing bowl. Here is a picture of four of my favorite singing bowls – each only has a different size, shape and decoration, as well as a unique voice when played with a wooden stick. No one actually knows how old this instrument is but most historians think it was probably created about 3,000 years ago when the bronze age began in ancient China.
If you get a chance to explore a singing bowl, you’ll find that you can play it two different ways. You can tap it with a mallet and it will ring like as bell, or you can apply pressure with a wooden stick in a circular motion to the side of the bowl and a sweet, sustained note will ring out – as if it were singing! We have a wonderful little singing bowl that we’re giving away this month and we’ll write all about the Tibetan singing bowl on our Making Multicultural Music Blog. Here’s some great background music for your class or home that features a Tibetan singing bowl:
Next, there’s the tingsha (or ting-sha). These are two small, rather heavy cymbals that are attached to a rope or piece of rawhide. They are usually about 2.5 to 4 inches in diameter and are played by gently striking them against each other. The sound is relaxing, beautiful and it’s no wonder that these two instruments are often heard in the United States as part of yoga or meditation practices.
Award-winning children’s performer, DARIA (Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou) has five CD’s that have won national honors. She has the most awesome job of traveling the world to sing for kids and peace. Her website, dariamusic.com, was given a 2009 Parents Choice Award for its musical and cultural content.