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  • Writer's pictureJoan Rothchild Hardin

The Hang and Hand Pan


If you’ve never had a chance to experience the hypnotic, meditative sounds of a hang or hand pan, this may be a revelation – possibly life-changing.

Here’s an example, one of my favorites: Daniel Waples – Solo Hang Drum in a London Tunnel

The original steel Hang instrument was invented in 2000 by two Swiss musicians in Bern, Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer (aka PANArt) who were inspired by the traditional steel pans of the Caribbean islands. They spent years researching how to achieve the sound they wanted their new instrument to have and introduced a first generation of it at the Musikmesse Frankfurt in 2001.

Hangs make use of the basic physical principles of a steel drum or pan, modified to act as a Helmholtz resonator. Rohner and Schärer made several generations of Hangs before stopping production in December 2013.

“Helmholtz resonance is the phenomenon of air resonance in a cavity, such as when one blows across the top of an empty bottle. The name comes from a device created in the 1850s by Hermann von Helmholtz, the “Helmholtz resonator”, which he used to identify the various frequencies or musical pitches present in music and other complex sounds.” (Wikipedia, 3/9/2016) Helmholtz Resonance

“Hang” is a registered trademark and property of PANArt. The word comes from the Bernese German word for ‘hand’.

See History of the Hang and handpans for a fuller history of these musical instruments. Hang (drum) Solo Concert – Rafael Sotomayor – Gent

David Kuckhermann – Hang Solo – Royal Albert Hall, London, September 2012

“Minkara”, written and recorded by Adrian Portia on an AsaChan handpan

Spacedrum by Yuki Koshimoto

Supersonic Hang (drum) Solo (HandPan) Rafael Sotomayor

Ananda Krishna sings & plays his “street hit” with Hang & Didjeridoo at Lisboa, Portugal

Hang Massive – Once Again – 2011 (hang drum duo) – Danny Cudd & Markus Johansson

“We Three Kings” Adam Maalouf playing a  Bell Art Hand Pan – recorded on Christmas Day 2013 Adam’s website: LOTUS DRUM – Handpan – Spacedrum – Hang Drum Alternative – Melodic Drum – Tank Drum played by Juan Gil de Lamadrid on a Pentatonic 18” 3rd Generation he built

To order a Lotus Drum from Gil: Handpan How To – Basic Song Structure – David Kuckhermann

Here’s PANArt’s Official Documentary about Felix Rohner, Sabina Schärer and their Hang instruments. It’s 55 minutes long but wonderful – worth watching:

Google searches of PANArt, hang drum, hand pan, and the names of the various musicians whose videos are shown above will produce more videos of these and other musicians, their CDs and MP3s, other how-to-play-them videos, hang performances and festivals, and other information – including videos by the artist-musicians who started making variations on the original hangs. The original hangs have become hard to come by and will be quite costly if you do manage to find one for sale. Added 4/17/2016

Another Hang Massive video – “Beats for Your Feet 2012”

Added on 5/13/2016:

Australian handpan player Sam Maher recorded at the 7th Ave. G/F station in Brooklyn, NY on December 10, 2014

REFERENCES AM Drums. (undated). History of the Hang and handpans. See: Wikipedia. (3/9/2016)). Helmholtz Resonance. See: © Copyright 2016. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


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