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Grotta Sonora

From Grotta Sonora:

"Grotta Sonora is a project for the design and construction of hand-crafted experimental musical instruments. Madhava Carrara and Margherita Cioffi, artisans and musicians, started this project building on their personal experimentation with sound, using different types of metals.

Madhava Carrara is a musician, percussionist and artisan who was brought up in an environment strongly influenced by the Indian culture. He has been experimenting for years with the craft of making stringed, wind and percussion musical instruments, using a wide range of materials, including recycled waste materials. With Margherita Cioffi, singer and decorator, he started the exploration that is at the foundation of this project.

Their first instruments were crafted in a cave (“grotta”) of Etruscan origin close to Calcata, an ancient village in the Treja Valley. The cave eventually turned out to be the perfect place to play these newly-crafted instruments, thus kicking off the Grotta Sonora project.“

Grotta Sonora Gongs

What makes Grotta Sonora Gongs special?

These gongs are made in an Etruscan Cave in the Treja Valley of Italy by instrumental artisans (Madhava Carrara and Margherita Cioffi) experienced in crafting unique, one-of-a-kind stringed, wind, and percussion instruments using a wide variety of materials, from recycled materials to a special metal alloy blend. Their instruments are artistic and innovative, built on years of experimentation and experience.

How do they compare to Paiste Gongs? Or to Chinese Gongs?

Paiste gongs have a very refined, focused, and consistent sound from one gong to the next. They’re made of nickel silver. Chinese Gongs of a given style and size will tend to be similar in sound, though their overall sonic experience is wider and a bit more chaotic and unpredictable compared to Paiste. Chinese Gongs are made of bronze.

Comparatively, each Grotta Sonora Gong has a unique quality, and an openness that allows a lot of exploration and experimentation for sound therapy, gong bath meditations, spiritual healing, or musical compositions. Even within a specific style and size, from one Grotta Sonora Gong to the next, there can be a lot of variation. A room full of Grotta Sonora Gongs is a room full of diverse sounds.

How are Grotta Sonora Gongs made?

These gongs are entirely handmade using a metal alloy of nickel mixed with stainless steel, a blend they call Sacred Metal. Because they’re handmade, they’re entirely unique, one-of-a-kind pieces of art. Each one is finished with unique etching, design, and coloration. The special metal alloy mixture yields complex sounds from durable gongs.

Are Grotta Sonora Gongs good for sound bath meditation and healing?

We love Grotta Sonora gongs for sound baths, gong meditations, spiritual-emotional healing, yoga, or just a private meditation practice. We highly recommend these gongs, especially if you already have a gong or two and you’re looking for something unique and one-of-a-kind that can add some unique, expansive flair and flavor to your sound baths.

Do Grotta Sonora Gongs come with everything I need to get started?

Grotta Sonora Gongs don’t come with a mallet or gong stand. They do come pre-tied with rope for hanging. The 19” Hand Gongs come with a handle attached.

For gong mallets, Grotta Sonora makes some wooden handled, fleece-wrapped mallets that they designed specifically with their gongs in mind. Click here to check them out.

If you’re looking for a gong stand to pair with your Grotta Sonora Gongs for sound bath meditations, we have some great stands for 20” to 28” gongs here and for 30” to 40” gongs here. There are a lot of great options, including Paiste stands, Gibraltar stands, Unlimited Best Friend stands, and more.

What are the different styles of Grotta Sonora Gongs?

  • Hand Gongs | Handheld gongs are perfect for travel, easy to transport, but with a powerful sound, rich with overtones. Complete with a handle, these gongs are great to use during sound baths, moving and spinning the gong over people as you play. Only available in 19” diameter.
  • Deep Gongs | These gongs have a folded rim, or a rim that bends back from the face, which focuses the fundamental tone and gives it more presence and resonance in the overall sound. These gongs are available in 26”, 34”, and 38” diameters.
  • King Gongs | Similar to a Chinese Wind Gong, these gongs have a flat face without a rounded or folded rim. This creates a much more open and expansive sound, building to a complex crash more freely than a Deep Gong. Available in 32” diameter.
  • Harp Gongs | This experimental tool combines features of the harp and the gong, where the gong acts as a resonating sound box for harp strings which are attached to the rim of the gong. This is a very unique instrument, available in 34” diameter.
  • Dream Catcher Gongs | These gongs are inspired by the design of traditional Dream Catchers. There are multiple tubular chimes attached to the back rim of the gong, which hang below the gong and are tuned to create harmony with the gong. Available in 34” diameter.
  • Giant Gongs | This series features all of their very large gongs. The sustain and duration of the sound are increased by using a thicker material to create the gongs, compared to their smaller gongs. These are available in 50”, 60”, and 70” diameters.
  • Octagongs | This creative and unique model features an Octagonal shape with a folded rim around the edge at 45 degree angles. Available in (approximately) 40” diameter.
  • Gamelagong | This model is inspired by Indonesian Gamelan (their word for Gong) which have an extra deep rim, much deeper even than the Deep Gongs. Here, the rim is welded rather than folded, which gives a unique tonal tension and focus. Offered at a 40” diameter.
  • Nickel Silver Gongs | The Nickel Silver Gongs by Grotta Sonora are made from the same Sacred Metal blend, but with the addition of Nickel Silver. These gongs have a very focused, crisp sound compared to the Stainless Steel Sacred Metal. Available in 30” diameter.

Does the size matter when it comes to Grotta Sonora Gongs?

All gongs generally tend to be heavier, deeper, and more complex the larger they are. We generally recommend gongs 26” or larger, especially if you’re getting your first gong. However, Grotta Sonora’s 19” Hand Gongs are amazingly complex, rich gongs, a perfect auxiliary gong for your sound baths.

Do I need to warm up my gong when I start playing?

Since gongs are made of metal, the molecular structure will expand and contract with warmth and activity. Many gong players like to very, very gently tap around the face of the gong, almost inaudibly at first, to sort of “wake the gong up” or “warm the gong up” which is also a useful way to familiarize yourself with the gong and to get comfortable with it. It’s always better to tap a gong first, rather than hit it with much force right away.

Are Grotta Sonora Sitting Bowls and the Grotta Sonora Leaf similar to Gongs?

Grotta Sonora makes a broad range of unique sound therapy and meditation healing instruments that are variations of a gong, but the overall playing experience may be very, very different from that of a gong. If you’re buying your first gong, you may want to stick with one of their more traditional styles first. If you’re looking for new instruments to add to your collection of gongs, one of their unique creations may be right for you!

How should I care for my Grotta Sonora Gong?

The gongmakers recommend using a soft microfiber cloth and some kind of IPA MAX (a type of isopropyl alcohol) professional cleaner.

Are Grotta Sonora Gongs good with friction mallets?

Yes! We love friction mallets on Grotta Sonora Gongs. We especially love B Love Friction Mallets on these gongs. For larger gongs, you’ll want to try a larger friction mallet. For smaller gongs, a smaller mallet. For medium-sized gongs? That’s right, a medium-sized friction mallet.

The Grotta Sonora Gong I want is out of stock! When will it be available?

Every individual Grotta Sonora Gong we get is unique and one-of-a-kind. We record every individual item and give it a unique identifying code so you can listen to each piece and choose the right one for your tastes. Once one of these gongs sells, it may say that it’s sold out, with a message on the listing saying “we’ll eventually get more, check back soon”

While we may get more of that exact size and model, we won’t get THAT exact unit back in stock, since each one is unique. If the listing says that item is sold out, check the drop-down box to see if there are any other options available in that size and style. If there are none available, we will eventually get more inventory, which we will record and list on the website eventually. Patience is a virtue with these gongs, as they are made by a small team with lots of effort and care.