Singing bowls have been sounding in Europe for centuries. Most people are familiar with the small singing bowls on antique clocks, which spread their characteristic sound on the hour. Larger old singing bowls can be found in organs or high up in some town hall towers. The deep sound of these singing bowls has shaped the history of European music in past centuries.
Bells rang mainly in churches and sacred buildings. Instead of bells, singing bowls were used in secular buildings such as town halls, breweries or industrial factories; for striking the hour, as a clearly audible time signal for the start, break and end of work. From an economic point of view, the singing bowls were also cheaper than bells, as considerably less metal was needed to produce the requested sound. Most European singing bowls were cast from bronze, brass or steel/cast iron.
The Grassmayr bellfoundry has been casting singing bowls made from bronze for at least 200 years. As this is usual in Europe, these singing bowls have thicker walls and can be struck with iron striking hammers.
In contrast to the European singing bowls, the Asian bowls are made and shaped from thinner-walled metal. Due to their thinner walls, they can be made to vibrate more easily, for example by friction with a wooden stick.
In recent years, the Grassmayr bellfoundry has put a lot of efforts into research activities and complex simulation calculations to further develop the conventional sound bowls into special musical instruments; with the result that the GRASSMAYR singing bowls can be heard in many famous orchestras, such as the Gewandhaus Leipzig, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (Germany), Helisinki National Opera (Finland), Palermo Teatro Massimo (Italy), Opera House Qatar, Marinsky Orchestra St. Petersburg (Russia), Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra (Australia).