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Frequency, Tones, and Overtones: Tone of Life Gongs

By "frequency" people mean the tuning of the gong, and they think there is a basic note or fundamental note to which the gong is tuned.

It’s one of the questions people tend to ask since the rather nonsensical “planet gong” hype came up. By “frequency” people mean the tuning of the gong, and they think there is a basic note or fundamental note to which the gong is tuned. In our case this is only true for the Dance Gongs, as they are tuned to an A + 20 cents which are around 111 Hertz, and this would be the lower octave of the so-called Venus tone, which is derived from the time the planet Venus needs for one cycle around the sun – all very theoretical and esoterical. But even this tone, which we tune as precisely as possible, will not keep to this exactness over time. As people play and strike the gong harder it may just lower its tone for some cents, and hence the frequency of the fundamental note will be only 108 or even less Hertz.

So all other gongs are tuned to a specific klangfarbe, which is the “color” or “shape” of the sound, a more holistic quality of the sound in total, and this is not so much measured in frequencies or specific fundamental notes but rather by the impact the sound has on body and soul. Of course, internally we do have a specific range in which the fundamental note should sound, but if the overall quality of the sound is “round” the fundamental may be a little higher or lower, giving each gong a specific individuality.

The technical reason for this is that in most cases you cannot have a perfect “round” sound quality and an exact tuning to a specific frequency at the same time. It is the one or the other, and except the Dance gongs, which are a little more robust, we always decide in favour of the overall sound quality of each gong. So the She-Moon has a tuning with fundamentals ranging from 80 to 100 Hertz, but it is possible that a gong with a higher basic frequency will sound deeper than one with a lower fundamental – according to the overall shape of the sound of the individual gong.

There are many overtones interlocking into a specific “envelope curve” which results in your ear as “deep” or “bright” or “soft” etc., and it is impossible to isolate only the fundamental without any interference of the rest of the overtones.

Below we want to present peaks of base tones and overtones. In the example below every picture represent different Gong for the single series. All depends on the used type and size of the mallet and place that we stroke the gong.










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