The Chinese gongmaking tradition goes back millennia. Chinese gongmakers are the original metalheads. They saw copper and tin and said, “We must melt these together into a giant disc and hit it hard to make a most righteous noise.”
And they did! They used them in an official capacity as a sort of police siren or as a way of announcing a coming official. They also used gongs in intense spiritual drumming rituals and meetings, not dissimilar to a Led Zeppelin concert in the 1970’s.
They perfected the art of gongmaking over thousands of years. Today, they are making gongs similar to how they did back then. Hot, liquid copper and tin are poured together to form an alloy we know as bronze. They pour the bronze into molds to form a disc shape. Then they hammer the gong to make it flat. After it’s shaped, they lathe the face, creating the traditional and recognizable bullseye pattern of alternating dark and shiny bronze.
Over the years, we’ve worked with Chinese gongmakers to create unique, exclusive styles. By playing with the lathing patterns, they can create gongs with varying tone-color and timbre. We have a range of unique gong styles. Some that are dark, deep, and erie while others are bright and splashy, with beautiful musicality.
The Lunar Flare Gong is one of our newer exclusive gongs. It is similar to a traditional style called the Sun or Solar Flare gong. Three lathed bands alternate between a dark, unlathed center and outer edge. The lathed bands provide some brightness to the overall tone while the unlathed bands help to control the crash and splash. It has a rim extending backwards from the face, which also tempers the crash, making a deep, warm-toned gong overall.
Larger sizes have a deeper overall tone. Added weight and density will always slow the frequency of metal percussion. It also adds complexity to the overall tone, with a louder potential volume and stronger resonance that will add something unique to sound baths when paired with other gongs.
In the mid-range size, the gong is not as deep as 32” and over. While it is brighter at 22”, it still has a dark, mysterious quality, with a quick, controlled crash. It is a great accent gong for percussionists, sound experimenters. It is a unique addition to the sound healer’s toolkit as a hand-held gong.
At this smallest size, it has a bell-like undercurrent, but with a fast and dark crash. Its overall tone is still mysterious. At this size, it is good for use in the home, to clear space for meditation or to let people know it’s dinner-time.
The djembe originated in West Africa. While many myths and legends surround of its creation, we can definitely say, historically, that the Djembe was being played in the Mali empire in the 12th century.