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Phil McNamara
Phil McNamara was born in Burnley, Lancashire in 1962. Although having an interest in music and gaining an O Level in History and Appreciation of Music, his academic studies led him to achieving an Honours Degree in Applied Chemistry from Sheffield Polytechnic. Subsequent employment included working as a lab assistant in the NHS, a radiochemist with the Central Electricity Generating Board, a radiation protection adviser with Nuclear Electric and British Energy and latterly, as a Dangerous Goods Safety Adviser with EDF Energy. A lifelong interest in gongs and tam-tams developed from an early age whilst listening to classical music and attending concerts by the Halle and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestras. One particular percussion instrument caught his attention, often being used at dramatic moments in the music to underpin a climax, round, off a passage or section of the score, or quietly add to a brooding atmosphere. Reading of the scores revealed this instrument to be a tam-tam though some scores referred to it as a gong. Curiously, some scores had more than one, being referred to as gongs and tam-tams in the same piece! Also, different orchestras had different sounding tam-tams, often dependant on what part of the world the orchestra came from. These apparent differences eventually led him to research the subject though little was available in the beginning, apart from sections in books written by the famous percussionist James Blades and the principle percussionist of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, James Holland. Whilst at college in Sheffield studying Chemistry, he began learning percussion in the local polytechnic orchestra. Mainly self taught apart from timpani and snare drum, he has played percussion in a number of local orchestras in Lancashire, Kent, Cleveland and Yorkshire. He occasionally plays percussion in several orchestras in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire. Phil finally purchased his first gong in 1985 and had collected several by 1999. In 2010 he discovered a new use for gongs healing, using the sonorous properties of the gong. He studied Sound Healing with gongs with Sheila Whittaker and the College of Sound Healing, graduating as a Gong Practitioner in 2011. His current collection of gongs has grown considerably and includes examples from different manufacturers as well as discontinued, but still sought after ranges from the Paiste company. Many of these gongs were purchased specifically for his book Gongs and Tam-tams A Guide for Percussionists, Drummers and Sound Healers so that he had first hand experience of their physical and acoustic properties. This book is a one-stop shop covering all aspects of these fascinating instruments. With information about their construction, history, and playing techniques as well as the paraphernalia needed in terms of beaters, cases and stands, cleaning and care, and a comprehensive listing and description of many of the gongs available today or in the recent past. This book is intended for anyone interested in gongs, from players through to sound healers, including composers, music arrangers, and students of music, metallurgy and percussion history. It is believed to be the first book of its kind in the World. Phil currently lives near the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire.

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In Praise Of Italian Gongs

(And Help Save the Species!) Many Sound Healers, myself included, use gongs made by the German firm of Paiste. These gongs are renowned for their acoustic properties and high quality forging that mak read more


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