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Playing the gong – how to strike the gong correctly

Woman strikes flat gong

The sound game with the gong offers a fascination all its own. If you want to play gong for the first time or are just learning how to strike the gong correctly, you may face one or two challenges. Of course, it also depends on your individual expectations: Do you want to learn to play the gong in order to play professionally in an orchestra or is gong playing more of a hobby?

Especially for therapists, meditation teachers, people interested in yoga or alternative practitioners, the gong is an ideal instrument to combine with their own profession. So it’s definitely worth taking a closer look at the different playing techniques, and learning about the different facets of sounds that are possible through gong playing.

What is important when you want to play a gong?

First of all, you should prepare for your gong game. How a gong is played depends, of course, primarily on the type of gong – but the local placement of the gong, the choice of the appropriate mallet, and the type of sound play must also be thought through in advance.

Placement in the room

To create the most beautiful sound game, your gong needs enough space. The vibrations that spread through the room when playing the gong must not be distorted by other objects – it therefore makes sense to place the gong as centrally as possible in the room and leave sufficient free space for the pleasant sounds to unfold fully.

Choice of the gong beater

The gong mallet also has a significant influence on the sound of the gong. The most important thing here is the quality: To achieve the different sound frequencies, you should choose a gong mallet that was created specifically for this type of gong. In addition, inferior mallets often produce an annoying striking noise, which has a negative effect on the sound. Since each mallet produces its own sound, you should have a variety of different gong mallets available. So you can always decide for yourself which sound image best suits your mood.

Most mallets consist of a wooden or metal handle. Metal handles are often made of a lightweight aluminum. The handles of the Gong Mallets by Olli Hess are made almost exclusively of beech wood and then sealed with organic wax. Due to the ergonomically shaped handle, our mallets always lie comfortably in the hand when playing.

The head of the gong mallet is usually made of felt or rubber and is also covered with a very soft fiber, for example, fleece. The special thing about Olli Hess gong mallets is that almost all of our mallets are completely vegan from head to stem. We offer you a wide range of different mallets, where you are guaranteed to find the right models for your needs.

Tip: When choosing the right beater, the weight is also important. Especially if you play the gong frequently professionally or as part of a therapeutic intervention, the duration of the sound play can become very protracted. With a light mallet you relieve your wrist significantly.

How is the gong played?

Basically, playing the gong is very simple. Each strike on the gong automatically generates a sound as well. However, if it is to be harmonious and intense, the playing style must be much more adapted. Before you start actually playing the gong, you should warm up your instrument a bit. To do this, tap your gong a few times with the Gong Mallet so that it can adjust acoustically. Be careful not to hit too hard, as there should be no audible sound when warming up. Instead, unobtrusive vibrations are released here to soften and brighten the sound of the gong.

After warming up, you can choose between different striking techniques or even rubbing the gong. Both variants produce their own sound image and thus their own frequencies. With enough practice, you will quickly find out which variant you like better or suits the respective application method.

Hit the right attachment points on the gong

The sound produced by striking the gong depends largely on the zone in which you strike the gong. Both the classic flat gong and the humped gong offer three different zones that you can play: The central gong, the outer ring and the direct edge. Each of these sections gives you a different sound and different frequencies. The art of playing the gong therefore lies above all in finding the right interplay between the three playing zones.

To do this, you should first take a look at the tones that can be created in the different zones of the gong:

The Gong Center
The center of the gong produces very low tones, which are the basis of gong playing and constitute the special mystique of the instrument. This area is mainly recorded and builds up the frequencies.

The ring of the gong
Brighter tones are produced in the ring of the gong, which are also called overtones. These frequencies loosen up the sound play of the gong a bit.

The outer edge
You can also create beautiful sounds on the edge of the gong. Basically, the further out the sound play takes place, the higher the frequencies become. Especially to create beautiful contrasts with the deep center, the edge of the gong is therefore the right choice.

Rubbing the gong – the alternative to hitting the gong

In classical meditation, the gong is rubbed rather than struck. This, of course, allows for less imposing pitches. Instead, however, the gong emits much calmer frequencies that can have fantastic results, especially during relaxation exercises or as part of therapeutic sessions. The advantage: when rubbing the gong, the amount of force required is much less, so that even longer sessions or meditations can be carried out without any problems. So if you want to learn how to play the gong, you should definitely try gong rubbing as well.

But be careful: If you want to rub the gong, do not use a conventional gong mallet. Here, instead, one uses a so-called gong driver, which, with a round head and a very light handle, allows a beautiful sound play. When rubbing the gong, the soft surface on the head of the gong driver is gently guided over the surface of the gong, creating very soft tones. These frequencies are mostly used for meditations, as they are reminiscent of the meditative Om mantra.

Find out which gong game suits you

Basically, playing the gong knows no rules. If you don’t want to perform as part of a professional orchestra, you can play the gong just as you like. Take enough time to fully engage in playing the gong, exploring all the techniques that make up a pleasant sound game.

You can vary yourself between striking and rubbing the gong to explore the frequencies that each of these exercises brings. Over time, a harmonious interplay will develop all by itself, uniting all facets and offering you a meditative and relaxing moment. The high-quality gongs, gong mallets and gong drivers from ollihess will always be at your side on this adventure with quality, durability and great attention to detail, helping you to explore the entire sound world of gong playing.

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