Tone of Life Gongs
Tom Soltron Czartoryski is a gong designer and maker living near Porabka in the Tatra mountains in southern Poland.
He became interested in gongs in 2000 and worked with Don Conreaux on the Peace Bell Garden in Krakow. In 2005 he set up a workshop and started to make his own gongs. Tom was interested working with gongs that had lower tones and pitches than the Paiste equivalent and were also portable.
Tone of Life gongs are made from Nickel Silver though to a slightly different composition to that of Paiste and the metal is also slightly thicker. The faces of the gongs are not as ‘tight’ as other German made gongs either. This is meant to make them more responsive and more focussed on lower tones and frequencies. Hence they don’t ‘splash’ as easily as those of Paiste/Meinl which is something that Tom is trying to avoid. All Tone of Life gongs are now made by SONA Gongs.
The current Tone of Life gong range consists of the following:
Maitreya Peace Gongs - Essentially 'symphonic’ gongs and are not tuned to any specific frequency. They are designed to produce the widest range of overtones for their size but are predominantly darker in tone than Paiste or Meinl symphonic gongs. There are available in three sizes – 25" (63cm), 30" (75cm) and 42" (105cm).
The Four Element series of gongs are a natural successor to the old Paiste Sound Creation gongs. Development started in 2013 and each gong is 30" (75cm) in diameter and represent the Four Elements of Fire, Water, Earth and Air.
The ‘Air/Cosmo’ gong is also the equivalent of a symphonic gong but without the shrill overtones of other symphonic gongs. It is very similar to SONA’s ‘Universe’ gongs and available in 30" (75cm), 42" (105cm) and 60" (150cm) diameters. It has an open rich sound but very little splash unless played loudly or heavily.
The Earth gong is also based on SONA’s ‘Erde’ gong which itself is based on the Paiste ‘Earth’ Sound Creation Gong, though made from slightly thicker metal. It is available in 30" (75cm), 42" (105cm) and 60" (150cm) diameters. They are very deep sounding as can be expected though with a raw ‘earthy’ crash and long sustain.
The ‘Fire’ gong is an entirely new creation. The face is not hammered in the usual way. Instead there is a hammered central ring with spoke radiating out from this. The decoration is a scraped abstract ‘flame’ between each of the spokes. It is meant to be played quietly and allow the tones to build up. It can also be very lively but is also very warm and demands a certain playing technique
The current ‘Water’ gong is also known as the ‘She-moon’ gong. It is made from thick nickel silver, nearly twice the thickness of the Fire gong and weighs 11kg. It has a deep sound with bell like tones and is peaceful in nature. A new Water gong is being developed in 2017.
The Dance gong is designed specifically to be hand held. It is very light (4kg) and produces a wide range of sounds. The surface is described as ‘tight’ with a number of concentric rings but it doesn’t ‘splash’ very easily. It is 22" (55cm) in diameter and has a wooden carrying handle making it very comfortable to be carried in the hand.