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Handpan is an instrument similar to the steel drum but played with the hands.
Example of other names associated with the handpan drum: Hang, Halo, Bells, Caisa, Hang SPB, Harmonic Disc, SpaceDrum, Bali Steel Dum, Hapi, Zen Tambour, Milltone, Eclipse Drum, etc.
These instruments emerged more strongly since the year 2000 when the Hang was created, which was invented by Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer, who created an institution (they do not like when we call it a company) called PANART in Bern, Switzerland.
In the 1970s the Trinidad steel drum was a success trough all Europe. For 20 years Felix Rohner played the steel pans and by the 90s, he founded PanArt. Sabrina signed on to PanArt shortly after and became his business partner.
The Hang came after a 15-year research- started in 1985. In those 15 years, they tested various types of metals because they wanted to fuse a different metal from what was used in steel drums. The metal that is used in the manufacture of Hangs is called Pang which is a nitrided steel, very resistant and does not oxidize.
From 2000 until 2006 it was sold in several stores around the world, but from that date on it’s only possible to have one sending a letter to Panart and justify why it deserves one and wait a few years (…!) because the number of orders is very large and the construction is slow because it is handmade.
The Hang was not created as a musical instrument, but rather for meditation. It is also used by healers.
The closest imitations of the handpan are the Halo (2009), that is manufactured by the American Pantheon Steel, the Bells (2009) by the Spanish Bellart, Spacedrum (2009) and in late 2010 a Russian created the Hang SPB. The expression handpan, in 2007 and was created by the American Pantheon Steel and it was created to describe their new instrument, launched as an alternative to the Hang.
The physical form of Hang, Halo and Bells.
All of them: the handpan drum, Hang, Halo, Spacedrum or Bells have the same format: convex steel drum that is played with the hands and tuned with multiple notes.
The Hang is composed by the Ding in the center which has a central note and around it can have 7 or 8 notes and the other side is the Gu side that has a hole that can be used as Udu. It’s completely hollow inside. Halo and Bells have the same format.
The Hang drum from the year 2000 to the present day has had 4 generations. The First generation was from 2001 to 2005 with 7 or 8 notes and several scales, the Second generation from 2006 to 2007 with 7 or 8 grades and various scales. Integral Hang from 2008 to 2009 of 7 notes and only with a single scale which is D3 D3 A3, B3, C4, D4, E4, F4, A4
In 2010 was created the Free Integral Hang also with only 7 notes and also with the same scale D3 Ding A3, Bb3, C4, D4, E4, F4, A4
To know more details physical details between models can visit this link: http://www.hangblog.org/the-hang-lexicon/#lowvoice
Bells has 2 versions: The first version between 2009 and 2010, existed in 7 and 8 notes with various scales. The second version since the beginning of 2011 only exists in 7 notes with several scales.
This is the site: www.bellart.es
Halo – Since 2008 there is only one version of the Halo drum, with several scales of 7 and 8 notes. You can find more information here: www.pantheonsteel.com.
Because buying one handpan drum seems like an almost impossible task (if you’ve done an online search you can easily check this). The waiting lists are huge, and neither the lottery contest of handpans that companies usually do seem to reach for so much order.
Hang drum for sale
And by hand drum for sale, I mean handpan drum for sale. Because, oh boy, to find a legit hang drum for sale is a very tuff challenge. Anyway, I find, from times to times, PANArt hangs for sale on classified sites like eBay or in Craigslist. But be prepared to spend some money because it’s not unusual to see used hang drums for sale for up 7500-8000$ and even $13 000, as I found out last month.
That is why we contacted two major manufacturers to see if they were able to have the handpans available with no waiting list (or with a small waiting list) and if they were willing to sell their products on Amazon. We got the confirmation, so now if possible to get your handpan without a waiting list, on Amazon, from:
Tzevaot – Tzevaot is a very popular handpan manufacturer. Their facebook page has more than 100 5 stars reviews and almost 27K likes. So, you can trust them to get your handpan drum from. Tzevaot instruments are nitrided, nitrocarburized, and black oxidized. Check them on Amazon!
Bali Steel Pan – the name Bali Steel Pan is today very popular because of their handspan’s quality. These handpans are handmade- shaped and built on the island of Bali, Indonesia. Do you want to check the sound of a Bali steel Pan? You can listen to them below:
Scales of the handpan drum
Scales or sound models are almost infinite. It is possible to create so many different musical arrangements that it is up to the creator to decide wich scales are or aren’t available to purchase.
We suggest that you pick a sound model first based on your intuitive emotional reaction! Listen, or experiment it, do not choose based on abstract or conceptual qualities about it. So many people find that one or two scales “speak to them”- follow your own gut on this 🙂
The Amazons sale page for Bali steel pan say that you can choose the scale and write your preference when ordering, but they don’t explain the scales available for this handpan drum, so I made a list for you on our post “Handpan drum-What you need to know about the Handpan“.
There is a website/wiki about the Hang and handpan scales available here if you wish to know more.