[VIDEO] The Hang Drum — Music From Another World

Hang (Hang Drum)
Invented by PANArt‘s Felix Rohner and Sabina Schaerer in Bern, Switzerland, the Hang has been researched and developed, refined and tuned to produce an immaculate sound and truly memorable experience both in playing and listening. The steel pan drum was the inspiration behind PANArt’s development of the Hang instrument (often referred to as a ‘drum’ due to the percussive way many people play it and hence logically associate it with the aforementioned).Hang means “hand” in the Bernese language, and is pronounced “hung or hong”. The Hang was developed in Switzerland. It was the result of many years of research on the steelpan and the study of the diverse collection of instruments from around the world, such as Gongs, Gamelan, Ghatam, drums, bells, etc. The instrument is played with the hands. Udu-like sounds are produced with the air resonance, the sounds of the clamped shallow shells sound like bells or harmonically tuned steelpans. The inner note on the bottom dome is the bass note, and when played in a dampened way allows change in pitch like a talking drum. Seven to nine notes are tuned harmonically around a central deep note. The hemispheres are hardened by a process known as gas-nitriding. This is a thermal treatment process in which nascient hydrogen atoms diffuse into the steel and form nitride compounds with many of the alloys in the steel.The Ding side contains 8 tone fields which together form the “tone circle” (scale or mode). This circle surrounds a central dome, called the Ding, which sounds like a Gong. On the Gu side (underneath), there is a hand size hole called the Gu for sound resonance. The Gu can also be played like an udu, or used to modulate the sound of the DING. The instrument is generally held in the player’s lap and played with the hands, although it can also be played with soft mallets. By changing the position of his/her knees, the player can change the deep note and vary the timbre of the instrument while playing. The Caribbean steelpan is probably the most important new acoustical instrument to develop in the 20th century. Since its invention in Trinidad some 50 years ago, improvements in the technology and design have resulted from research in Europe and the United States in addition to its home country of Trinidad and Tobago. It has also inspired the development of new steel instruments, such as the PANG family of instruments and the hand-played HANG.An authentic Panart hang drum will typically sell for between $7,000 and $15,000 in some cases. They are extremely rare.

2 thoughts on “[VIDEO] The Hang Drum — Music From Another World

  1. I was getting some work done in a cafe in Kensington Market here in Toronto, and I heard this ethereal harp-like sound coming from out the back door where there was a rear patio. To me it sounded like at least three people, one with a harp, one with a tabla or some sort of Indian percussive instrument and something else…..
    I went outside to see if there was such a band in a neighbouring patio..and just saw this solitary guy who looked as though while he himself was in outer space, he hovered in our plane in a trance over a UFO.
    Crazy. It’s amazing that new music is still being created on new instruments that are just recently being invented now, in 2011, and does not involve electronics or computerization in the production of music.
    It’s like listening to music from a culture that hasn’t yet been globally recognized…
    Usually, when you hear an instrument, you can say, oh that sounds like….Mongolia, or Yemen or Peru or some geographic place, but with this, it just sounds extra-terrestrial.
    It was a memorable moment, for sure.

    It must have felt like that for the Spanish when they first heard the rhythmic sounds as they entered Tenochtitlan for the first time…or when Europeans first visited Moghul India, or when Marco Polo went to China. Hearing tones and scales foreign to the ears.
    I love Toronto.

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