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Showing posts from June, 2018

Music Notation For Gongs

I recently received an email from a composer who is working on a large scale piece with various Gongs in it. He asked me about how you notate Gongs. I started working on a blog to address this issue when I discovered that I had already written something back in May 2014 for my Percussion Deconstruction™ blog on that exact subject. So rather than write something new, here is the link to Music Notation For Gongs.

I feel it's still relevant and is a great resource of information.

~ MB


Chop Wood / Carry Water / Play Gongs™







Looking For Perfect Sounds

There is no magic to what I do. I play sounds. That's it. But I've spent most of my life learning how to make those sounds, and I've also learned when to make them. And I think that is very important. 

Anyone can make a sound, but, and this is important, not everyone can make the right sound at the right time. I'm not saying that I'm the world's expert on this, but I've put in my time, and I keep working at it. Sometimes things don't turn out right, or as I expected, but I'm able to carry on and make a better sound, a better choice as I move forward.

I just try to make sounds that I find interesting and hope that others find them interesting too. - Michael Bettine
I've also really distanced myself from the whole sound therapy community, because so much of it is based on magical thinking—things like 432Hz, Planet Gongs, 7-metal alloys, assigned notes for each Chakra, etc. While I believe in magic, I don't do magical thinking when it comes to som…

Don't Forget To Make Music

I'm constantly surprised, when listening to sound healers, how much of the sounds they make I perceive as noise, or at least as non-musical sound. It's really a shame, because I think they are missing the opportunity to be so much more, and to give their listeners so much more.

Understand that my viewpoint comes from being a trained musician with over 50 years of experience. I'm all for healing/therapy/meditation, or however you want to describe what you do with your gongs/bowls/bells, but much of what I hear is lacking 3 important aspects of music—rhythm, harmony, and melody. Let's take a look at those:

1)Rhythm. To me, this seems so basic, but as a percussionist, it's so ingrained in my body/mind/soul, that I can't help but always feel a sense of rhythm in what I do. So perhaps it's from this perspective that I'm so surprised by the lack of any sort of discernible rhythm from many of the people I listen to. To me, rhythm is important because it gives th…