The use of the gong has been an ancient Chinese custom for many eras.
They were first used to signal peasant workers in from the fields as
some gongs are loud enough to be heard from up to 50 miles away. In
China and Japan they are used in religious ceremonies, state
processions, marriages and other festivals. They emit a peculiarly
sonorous sound, its complex vibrations bursting into a wave-like
succession of tones, sometimes shrill and sometimes deep. Large flat
gongs may be 'primed' by lightly hitting them before the main stroke,
greatly enhancing the sound and causing the instrument to "speak"
sooner, with a shorter delay for the sound to "bloom". Keeping this
priming stroke inaudible calls for a great deal of skill. The smallest
suspended gongs are played with bamboo sticks, or even western-style
drumsticks. Contemporary & avant-garde music, where different sounds
are sought, will often use friction mallets (producing squeals &
harmonics), bass bows (producing long tones and high overtones), and
various striking implements (wood/plastic/metal) to produce the desired
Sound World Instruments carries an extraordinary variety of Chinese
gongs. These suspended gongs, typically of bronze or brass, are played
with beaters and are of two main types: flat faced discs either with or
without a turned edge, and gongs with a raised center boss. By far the
most familiar to most Westerners is the chao (chau) gong or bullseye
gong. Traditionally, chao gongs were used to clear the way for important
officials and processions, much like a police siren today. Large chao
gongs, called tam-tams, have even been adopted by the modern symphony
orchestra. Sometimes a chao gong is referred to as a Chinese gong, but
in fact it is only one of many types of suspended gongs that are
associated with China.
Another popular Chinese gong instrument, known by the name Bao, is a
type of raised boss gong commonly used in Chinese temples for worship.
They have a clear resonant tone with less shimmer than other gongs and
can produce two distinct sounds depending on whether they are struck on
the boss or next to it. They most often are tuned to various pitches,
determined by diameter and thickness.
SWI (Sound World Instruments) also stocks Tibetan gongs and many other
popular Chinese gongs including the Hand gong, Wind gong, Tiger Sound
gong, Yun gong and the Lion Cymbal. Among our accessories, you will find
everything you need including gong stands, hangers, beaters and sticks.