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Frank Perry
from: Frank Perry
Category: Gong Work


For some years now I’ve been somewhat vexed regarding the attribution of the seven white notes of the piano to the seven chakras.

When I was attending school during the 1950s & 60s the ONLY music I knew of was our Western diatonic scale with its major and minor keys.

‘World music’ was unheard of by myself during these school years. Once I’d left school my ears were opened to jazz and I was also led to the religious music of India, China, Japan, & Tibet. Fortunately, there were recordings increasingly available on labels such as Nonesuch & Unesco because the ethnomusicologists were acutely aware that such traditions were dying out. It is probably the case that the usual destination for such recordings was the universities and, aside from this, perhaps, interested individuals such as myself - musicians searching the road less travelled in musical recordings.

When mystics and occultists during the early half of the twentieth century were seeking correspondences between music and colour, for instance, I believe it most likely that, as with myself, the word music meant Western diatonic music in major and minor keys. Therefore, I think that the standard classification much in vogue nowadays stems from this rather limited view of music.

When we consider that our Western music stems from the Greek scales, with but two left existing within our classical music (major and minor), then we find that we are already limited. When we expand our consciousness outwards, world-wise, we find so many musical traditions from a variety of pentatonic tunings - before we even consider the work of composers such as Athanasius Kircher, Ezra Simms, Alois Haba, Julian Carrillo, Eivind Groven, Eugene Ysaye who experimented with microtonal tunings (scales with notes existing in-between our smallest interval – the semi-tone) and later such as Harry Partch (43 tones to the octave) and Iannis Xenakis, Lou Harrison, Ben Johnston, Terry Riley, La Monte Young, Giacinto Scelsi, Alvin Lucier, Claude Vivier, Georg Friedrich Haas, Tristan Murail, Gerard Grisey, Johnny Reinhard, James Tenney, Luigi Nono, etc, who went on to explore, for example, many alternative divisions of the musical octave (mostly on stringed instruments because, unlike ‘fixed pitch’ instruments such as the piano – they are easily adapted to such tunings). E.g. quartertone music, with its 24 pitches would, simply lie halfway between the usual twelve notes (in ‘pure’ tuning).

Even with our existing diatonic scale, composers have experimented with a variety of musical ratios from which to derive the intervals of the scale. Composer Kyle Gann, on his website, provides us with a list of 720 intervals within the single octave!

With such a huge range of possible ways of deriving musical scales from the octave, I find it hard to believe that the single key of C Major is divinely ordained to provide us with the precise notes for our seven major chakras. Notwithstanding the fact that there have been numerous changes in the past few centuries to the exact frequencies of these seven notes.

However, with all that said, if we are to apply this one set of correspondences in sound healing then I believe that this is best done upon a Western musical instrument manufactured to reproduce these precise notes (or other such tools such as tuning forks manufactured to precise frequencies for these notes - taken from numerous tuning models).

Himalayan singing bowls are NOT musical instruments but rather ritual instruments mostly designed as a tool to assist the practice of meditation. Antique singing bowls were not produced to sound any note of our Western musical sale, whilst going back, perhaps not even one century, the bowl makers in the remote Himalayan regions would never even have heard of our Western musical scale, and were, therefore, totally incapable of producing a ‘set’ of tuned bowls.

Added to this we have the problem that bowls don’t even produce one single tone! One of my bowls (as shown in my recent book ‘HIMALAYAN SOUND REVELATIONS’) contains 23 separate notes! Albeit sound analysis of the notes found within my hundreds of singing bowls are within varying degrees of exactitude to our musical scale.

It is for the reasons above (and others) that I advise anyone wishing to purchase a singing bowl to completely ignore the current trend of merchants who state (for example) that the bowl for sale is an F and for the heart Chakra – irrespective of just what degree of exactitude they are applying or by what tools they are arriving at such conclusions (some merchants use a cheap machine from a local garage to analyse the ‘musical note’ in their bowl). I have noticed that they also have a complete disregard for octaves. That is to say that many sound healers understand that lower chakras resonate to a lower pitch and that higher pitches affect the head region. Therefore, a seller stating that they are selling a Crown Chakra Bowl (B) with a bowl 12” diameter (and thus producing this B in the octave two lower than Middle C), is completely misguided as such a tone will not affect the head region of the Crown chakra.

My advice to you is ignore any such statements – the sellers most probably wouldn’t know a chakra from an elephant. They simply know that this set of correspondences exists and that it is far easier to sell a bowl using such an appellation rather than simply being a singing bowl. IF you like the sound and sight of what you come across (internet or otherwise) then buy it regardless of what the seller (who most likely is not a sound master, or initiate of sound, and therefore incapable of truly knowing what any one bowl can be used for) tells you about it.

One person came to me because the seller had told them about my wands and he wanted to buy one. Everything he had been told about that bowl was a lie. The first thing that I noticed was an F# painted in the middle of the inside of the bowl. I tested it with around 40 sticks but each time the result was between B and C – therefore, not even a note in our scale! Exasperated, eventually he determined to return the bowl to the seller and asked if he might mention my name. I had simply told him the truth and, therefore, I didn’t mind at all as I had not had the intention of causing trouble. In the event it was unnecessary as the seller immediately gave him his money back.

Some years ago now a lady visited me with her set of Chakra bowls that had cost her over £2,000. I didn’t find a single bowl within the set (all 7 in the middle octave) to affect any chakra of mine. However, I realise that this could be entirely subjective and that arguments exist as to whether there is a note for chakras or whether we, as individuals, possess different notes for our chakras. That is to say that our individuality enters into the equation rendering a precise note for everyone’s chakra (e.g. ‘E’ for Solar Plexus), superfluous because of the idea that we each have our own individual ‘right’ note for when our individual chakra is functioning in-tune.

Many years ago now I attended an event featured around the sound of singing bowls and gongs and came across a room full of singing bowls. By the door it stated that these were ‘Healing Bowls.’ Despite these bowls being antique and of good quality, I could not identify a single bowl that I could find useful for healing. I.e. I could not have sold these bowls as ‘healing bowls’.

I mention in my book that I have four bowls that I use in my sound healing when working with the Throat chakra. I provide details of these several bowls showing how they each have a different note. I have selected these four because they affect the Throat chakra and also because they produce different colours upon the astral plane that I apply to the Throat chakra when healing (using the ‘mental colour healing’ technique). For instance, should I find that the client requires Green and Gold to the Throat chakra then I would use the two bowls that can channel those two colours/energies. So, again, you can see that I have complete disregard for the usual rather mechanistic idea that the colour Blue rules the throat chakra – from which one would assume that I would only direct the colour blue to that chakra during healing. There is a school that believes that each organ of our body resonates to a specific frequency and that illness results from that organ no longer vibrating at that frequency. So it is said that the playing of this frequency to the organ in question will re-establish its healthy functioning. Working in a more intuitive manner, I find this to be a mechanistic paradigm. Which is not to say that it doesn’t work!

That being said, if any of these systems are found to be useful for you and your clients, then I’d also advise you to ignore what I am writing and to stick with what works for you. In the foregoing I am mostly writing for people who wish to work with singing bowls in the field of sound healing and seeking to warn them of the risk of purchasing a bowl that can’t truly be said to be helpful for working with the chakras due to my foregoing points.

Copyright Frank Perry 17 Nov 2014

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