An Offence & Curse
The only place direct pounding was ever used in connection with the gong was in the Kings’ courts. A large gong was used to declare emergency conditions. The sound was so disturbing they developed the muffled gong that has the raised dome at the center. The sound was meant to alarm you. If the regular gong is played with a strong direct strike, the sound scatters your energy. You can feel upset and drained rather than challenged or elevated. That is inconvenient in the context of kingly emergencies as well as a class in meditation. The best stroke of the mallet is a semi-circular one that strikes the surface of the gong at an angle. Direct the stroke upward or downward. The size of the arc can be large or small. That depends on the effect you want to create. If you watch an expert gong player, it may appear that after several large swings of the mallet, they then strike it directly. Actually the “direct” strike is straight on with a very small twist in the wrist that induces a small arc at the moment of impact.
When the mallet is used with the proper stroke the sound of the gong builds and reverberates with harmonies and pulses which are indescribable. The range of frequencies stimulates all the nerve endings, large and small alike. A well-stroked gong will collect and direct you.
If you want to increase the loudness of the sound, simply time the stroke to hit the gong as it comes toward you. To lessen the loudness, time the stroke to hit the gong as it moves away from you. Use timing and rhythm to vary the loudness and timbre of the sound.