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Gongs, including Bao Gongs, Chao Gongs, and Hand Gongs

We've broken down our gongs into categories to allow you to better locate just the right gong.

The Chao Gong is a very elegant and distinctive gong that produces a full and sustained wash of musical overtones. Its beauty and its traditional appearance make it a centerpiece in any space, indoors or outdoors. This style of gong dates from the Han Dynasty where it was used for spiritual drumming, large meetings, and to announce the procession of important people. In more modern times, the chao gong has found a place in different genres of music, most notably symphony orchestras. Otherwise known as a tam-tam, the Chao Gong is one of the most familiar looking Chinese gongs. The chao gong differs in shape from the wind gong in that it has a rim around the outside edge. It also has a very distinctive "target" appearance. On the chao gong, the center spot and outside rim retain the black copper oxide that forms when the gong is made. On the rest of the gong this coating is removed and the surface is polished. Chao gongs are available in a range of sizes, with each size having its own distinct full sound. Smaller sizes have a rich but higher sound while the larger sizes are deeper and ring with more power and sustain.

The Hu Yin gong has a descending pitch when struck. In Chinese opera, gongs of various sizes are used to coordinate the action as well as the position and personality of each character as the plot develops. Traditionally made, each gong requires multi-directional lathing and hand hammering to reach its final form. A product of true craftsmanship each gong has a dynamic range, projection, and resonance.

A beautiful and brilliant sounding instrument, the wind gong produces an amazing rush of musical overtones. The gong's presence quickly becomes the focus of any indoor or outdoor space, and their sound is both exhilarating and calming at the same time. The shimmering sound of wind gongs has rich traditional roots in meditation and ceremony. Wind gongs are basically a large and very flat bell. When played with a padded mallet they produce a complex wave of musical tones. When struck with a drumstick they sound more like the bells in a large clock. Wind gongs are available in a range of sizes, with each size having its own distinct sound. Smaller sizes have a higher pitch and less power while the larger sizes are deeper, richer, and ring with more power and sustain.

The Bao Gong is very different from other gongs in that it features a raised boss, or nipple, in the center. For this reason they are often referred to as nipple gongs. They have a very clear beautiful tone without much of the shimmer found in other gongs. In fact they have more of a bell sound with a distinctive pitch while still producing the subtle harmonic overtones. They are available in a range of sizes with smaller ones having a higher pitch and larger ones having a deeper pitch. Historically in China the bao gong was considered a sacred gong, and it was often found in temples. Today bao gongs are featured in almost any environment, and they immediately garner the center of attention in any space whether they are indoors or out.

When played, the gong player first warms up a large gong by hitting it gently around a circle outside the center of the gong. This starts the gong vibrating. Then the player may hit the center hard, creating a bone-rattling sound that keeps ringing, softer and softer, until the gong finally stops vibrating. Gongs used in symphony orchestras are tuned to different pitches. The pitch of a gong is determined by how thick or thin it is.

Ethnic Musical Instruments

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