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Gong: history, types of gong and everything you need to know

It is therefore hardly surprising that the gong has been used as a musical instrument throughout the history of mankind. Later reports, for example from ancient Rome, show again and again what an important role the gong played in everyday life. The Romans developed the gong further and turned it into an instrument hanging on a string, which was mainly used for important signals.

What makes the musical instrument gong so special?

Due to the special volume of the gong and the different tones that could be produced depending on the mallet, the gong was ideally suited as a possible warning signal – for example in case of fire or attack. But the gong was also struck on joyous occasions, for example at the start of a festival, to get people’s attention.

But there is not only the “one gong”, because in the course of history the gong was changed and adapted again and again. From this, numerous types of gongs have developed, each of which stands for a unique sound.

What types of gong are there?

First, the gong is distinguished between two different categories of gong: The flat gong and the hunchback gong. Within these two categories there are many more subspecies, sometimes more, sometimes less known.

The flat gong

The flat gong has a flat, corrugated or slightly curved plate that has only been bent over at the edge. However, there are different types of the flat gong here as well. Very well known is the Feng gong, which lacks the flanged rim that actually makes up the flat gong. The feng gong is also more commonly referred to in the trade as the sun gong or wind gong. The Feng Gong is characterized by the fact that it can be played with a very light mallet and thereby unfolds rather quiet tones, which offer a varied sound play with a deep fundamental tone and very fine overtones.

Another flat gong is the tam-tam gong, which has a flanged rim and thus corresponds to the classic flat gong. The edge of the tam-tam gong is directed very far to the back, so that a particularly voluminous and impressive sound is achieved.

The humpback gong

Compared to the flat gong, the hump gong is much more widespread and is used in many more rituals. The hunchback gong has a pronounced bulge in the middle. But here, too, a distinction is made between different sub-types: strongly curved gongs are counted among the metal drums, more u-shaped gongs are called kettle gongs.

How are the different types of gong played?

How you play a gong depends, of course, on what kind of gong it is.

play the flat bell

The flat gong is usually struck by the player in the middle or slightly outside to produce a pleasant and harmonious tone.

play the humpback gong

The hunchback gong, on the other hand, is always struck in the middle, as this produces a particularly rich sound. But gong playing is always a form of art as well. To elicit the tones from the sounding bodies, there are therefore of course several possibilities.

The gong instrument can be played with different mallets (also called mallets) to aim for different gong frequencies and gong tones. To protect the gong from scratches and damage, a gong mal let is usually covered with cloth at the head. This also makes the tones sound much softer and more pleasant. In addition, there are also so-called gong drivers, which allow a particularly varied sound play with the gong instrument. Gong drivers have a rubberized end, so that scratches and damage to the gong can be prevented.

Gong instruments and their incredible variety of sounds

Contrary to what one might expect, gong instruments have a very broad spectrum of sounds that can be influenced depending on the mallet or gong reamer. From deep and bassy tones to very shrill sounds, the metal bodies of the gong can produce exceptionally versatile tones. The final sound of a gong depends on various factors. The design of the gong plays a very important role, because a flat gong produces significantly different sounds than a hunchback gong. In addition it depends on the material and its processing, how a gong sounds in the end.
Many other characteristics – for example, the environment in which a gong is used as a musical instrument – also affect how the sound of the gong sounds to us. Basically, however, it can be said that the gong as a musical instrument can cover a wide frequency range between 1 Hz and 27 kHz (and possibly even beyond). Because of this special versatility, the gong as a musical instrument is often associated with the original tones and “primal sounds” of the earth.

Buy Musical Instrument Gong at ollihess

Would you like to immerse yourself in the world of the gong and get to know this exciting musical instrument, which has a very long tradition? Olli Hess has put a lot of heart, sweat and effort into the creation of his gongs. Here you can feel with every note that profound passion meets incredible know-how. In this way the ollihess gongs become very special musical instruments and truly outstanding products.

Of course, in our online shop you will also find all the gong accessories you need for meditative or invigorating gong playing, for example gong drivers, gong mallets or matching sound boxes for an even more beautiful sound. Just take a look at our online shop and let yourself be surprised by the special variety that our handmade gongs have in store for you.

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