Rotraut Rumbaum  Mindful Motion

Rotraut Rumbaum

Mindful Motion

Why I am addicted to my gong and what you probably don't know about gongs

Did you know that Germany is not only a leader in luxury cars, but also in the production of luxury gongs? Again, "Vorsprung durch Technik", in this case with fire and hammer.

The famous gong manufacturers are in Northern Germany and Eastern Germany, and their gongs can be found all over the world


The photo shows my "Water Gong "from Sona Sounds and Tone of Life, a really impressive instrument of 105 cm in diameter. It is from a series meant to embody earth, air, water and cosmos.

It is a Symphonic Gong from the small, fine gong forge Sona Sounds by Johannes Heimrath. It is forged from silver nickel and produced in collaboration with Tone of Life. It is not identical to the gongs made by the great German gong smith Paiste, but very similar. There are more details about the genealogy in the video below.

Sound characteristics

The sound spectrum of this gong is enormous. I like to play it in "meditative" technique. This means that the gong is not struck hard. Instead, it is slowly charged with vibrational energy with the finest, barely audible, but fast strokes of a small solid mallet. This technique is not so easy, because it requires a vibrato in the player's wrist, so to speak.

This vibrational energy envelops the listener in an extremely overtone-rich spectrum of sound that, at its peak, would be capable of covering the entire audible frequency range.

The sound of my gong is described by Tone of Life thus:

The water gong represents water in all its manifestations. ... It connects us with a deep ancestral knowledge, our feelings and emotions, it is nourishing and life-giving. It has a very deep, even, natural and rough sound, like the water around us, from a calm lagoon to a raging ocean. A great variety of overtones, with a beautiful structure of low, middle and higher tones.

(Translated with

One should not, of course, get stuck on this description when listening. One can, may and should give free rein to one's associations while listening. If a piano piece is called "The Little Shepherd", there is a danger that the image of a little shepherd will narrow the listening.

Also, the following might be interesting: in Indian philosophy, the 4 elements of water, air, earth, and are not to be understood literally (i.e., "earth" not as the earth (as a planet) or as sand, read, and dust).

They are representations of the qualities solid/solid, fluid, warm/cold and alive.

  • Earth: solidity, solidity

  • Water: fluid, flowing etc

  • Air: self-motion, life, the automatic breathing

  • Fire: temperature

So my gong represents the flowing, constantly adapting, variability, flexibility etc.

The gong is the most transformative instrument in the world. The gong's extraordinarily powerful vibrations work at a deep level. They enter at the weakest point of the body and work deep into the cells where a lot of information is stored. Physical and mental blockages can be released and old thought patterns and cellular information are transformed.

Sound is vibration, is light and love.

"The gong is the sound of creativity itself. The one who plays the gong plays the universe. The gong is a beautiful amplified vibration. It is like a multitude of strings, like playing with a million strings. The gong is the only tool with which you can create this combination of space vibrations." (Yogi Bhajan)

The gong is alive

For example, its sound characteristic is also dependent on the temperature in the room. It sounds richer in overtones when it has had a longer time to warm up in a warm room. It also sounds different depending on who I am playing for. It is a resonating body that reacts to its environment and the existing vibration field.

I had heard about this in my training, but I could only believe and understand it through my own different experiences.

Unlike a piano or other instruments, you cannot "tune" a gong yourself as a player. You can only give it the right temperature environment and take care of it mechanically. However, it can happen that it loses its sound characteristics due to unfortunate environmental influences or harmful treatment. Then it can be brought back to its