The Gong Show

May 15, 2008

I was listening to FCTV, local cable access tv for Falmouth, the other day, listening, not watching, because, in my home office, my desk is arranged so that I have my back to the tv and because my little tv is on its last legs, and has a very dark, sometimes indecipherable picture. I like FCTV; I used to produce a tv show there myself, and I understand how much work goes into these shows.

Anyway, the show on FCTV was an interview show, featuring a woman interviewing a man about his gongs. I wasn’t so much interested in the show as I was in the interviewer, who seemed not only bored, but skeptical of the man and his gongs. He was going on about the mystical powers of the soung of the gong, and saying things like, “You don’t play the gong, the gong plays you.”

Instead of letting that New Age-y sounding statement go, the interviewer asked for an explanation, and the man started talking about how you play a flute by pressing on various keys and blowing, but the gong was completely different. Playing a gong is fairly simply; you hit it with a mallet as you would a musical instrument, but the sound of the gong has an impact on your body as if you, yourself, were the instrument.

He demonstrated, playing what looked like (and I couldn’t really see) numerous gongs of different sizes and with different sound properties. The effect was amazing. I was drawn into the gong sound immediately, stopped working, sat up a little straighter and enjoyed the sound going right through me. The bored interviewer responded too; suddenly seeming more light-hearted and giggly. Maybe because she was sitting right next to the gongs, vibrating along with them.

Turns out there is a whole world of gong meditation and gong therapy using gongs to create a healing “sound bath.” Very soothing! I’m not going to rush out to buy an gong though, the sound of cello music affects me similarly. I’m going to go practice now and enjoy some of those mellow vibrations.

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