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History and development of Handpan

Introduction of the handpan

The first handpan in the world is “Hang” from Switzerland, Hang was called “handpan” only after it was introduced to China, and “Hang” is actually Hang” is actually a registered trademark and patent of PANArt Hangbau AG, so the name “Hang” refers exclusively to the Hang developed by PANArt Hangbau AG, and later people used “Hang”, “Handpan” or “Hand Drum”. Hang means hand in Nepali dialect. Hang means hand. After the introduction of the Hang, there were only two people who could make the Hang, but more and more people wanted to own the Hang, and there was an imbalance between supply and demand, so more and more people started to study and make similar instruments. Since none of them can be called “Hang”, there are Halo (USA), SPB Pantam (Russia), Bells (USA), and XuanYin and AM Hand Disc (China) from different countries.

Material and appearance

The discs are made of hard, pot-like nitride steel, shaped like a UFO. there are usually 8 or more tones on the discs, surrounding a raised tone in the middle of the top surface – “Ding” (ding), and the rest of the tones surround the “ding” (ding). “The rest of the tones are distributed around in a depressed shape, and from the bass to the treble in a “Z” shape around, each depressed area can be issued a different pitch. It has a hole in the center of the bottom, called the “Gu”, which is used to allow the air inside the Hang to flow and resonate as a whole, and is designed on the Helmholtz resonator principle. According to Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer, they were originally inspired by the Ghatam “clay pot drum”, an Indian hand clapping instrument, and the “Gu Gu” is a reference to the clay pot drum.

Making and adjusting the handpan

In the article “HISTORY, DEVELOPMENT AND TUNING OF THE HANG” written by Felix Rohner and Sabina Scharer, it is written that two pot-like steel shells are baked in a kiln at 600°C under the conditions of nitrogen and ammonia seepage. The two pan-like steel shells were baked in a kiln at 600°C for several hours. The surface of the shells (50 cm in diameter and 0.91-0.95 mm thick) was brass-plated and then withdrawn from the kiln at 400°C. After 15 minutes, the following results were obtained: an increase in tensile strength of about 10%, an increase in the hardness of the core, and a diffusion of the brass into the surface. Each zone is tapped countless times by the maker to stimulate the surrounding area to adjust the internal resonance of the handpan and to achieve the effect of tuning the pitch of the handpan. Each hand disc has a fixed tuning and its internal If it is not in tune, it will be out of the original key, so that the disc cannot achieve the ethereal sound effect of the instrument itself. Since the steel plate gets thinner and thinner, any mistake in the striking process can ruin the whole disc; the makers approach each “carving” in their own style, with their own intuition, with their own eyes, so dozens of factors affect the quality of the sound; they must master the unique skills of this art. They must master techniques unique to this art, such as how to design shapes, how to smooth, how to expand and subvert the musicality of metal itself. They feel the process through their ears, watch the changes on the tuners with their eyes, and also use.

They check the symmetry and vibration of the tuned range with a pattern formed by quartz sand. They consulted experts such as physicists, engineers and metallurgists on a variety of topics: studying the architecture of engineers and architects, learning from physicists

to understand the vibration patterns of resonant bodies, and to adjust and restore to the original effect in such a complex system.

handpan (6)

What is a handpan

In 2000, Felix Rohner and Sabina Scharer, two Swiss steel drum makers, received a visit from a percussionist who showed Felix Rohner and Sabina Scharer his Indian clay pot drum, the Ghatam, a clay pot-shaped instrument that produced a sound that attracted them. The two of them then combined the high notes of the steel drum with the low notes of the Indian Ghatam and invented this new instrument, the Hang.

Brief development of the Hang

Between 2001 and 2005, Felix Rohner and Sabina Scharer’s company, PANArt Hangbau AG, was founded in 1993. Before the emergence of the Hang, PANArt Hangbau AG, a company that made steel drums, had been experimenting with new materials and conducting intensive research on various materials, trying to turn ordinary steel into a new material for more musical and acoustic purposes. The first hangs they made were mainly played by percussionists, who were initially attracted to the new instrument because of the way it combined rhythm and melody. People played the Hang on a stand or on their lap, or even tried to play several instruments at once and tried to integrate it into their band or orchestra. The presentation of the Hang is tempered, and its “Ding” is polished, mirror-polished. They set up a concave surface in the middle of each section, experimenting with different materials to find a different sound, and with new materials they were able to improve the concave surface in the sound field to create a better sound. There are also some Hang that are customized to the needs of the player. Most of the early Hang’s were sold through music stores or a worldwide network of distributors. Each Hang has an individual number and a special signature.

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