The handpan is a percussion musical instrument originally from South America. It consists of a single semicircular membrane, which is struck with the hands. Its timbre is particularly soft and haunting. Today, it is used in a wide range of musical styles, including jazz, classical and world music.
What is a handpan?
This percussioninstrument, originally from South America, consists of a single membrane in the shape of a semicircle. It is struck with the hands. Its timbre is particularly soft and enchanting. Today, it is used in a wide range of musical styles, including jazz, classical and world music.
The origins of the handpan
The handpan was invented in Switzerland in 2000. The inventor, Felix Rohner, was inspired to create the handpan after seeing a steel drum being played at a festival. The first handpans were made of stainless steel.
The standard handpan is a relatively small instrument, with a diameter of around 12 inches and a depth of 10 to 15 inches. It generally has an indefinite number of round metal frets, but some have more than others. In addition to this, there are also metal scrolls fashioned around the outside of the instrument. Metal scallops can be shaped like circles, diamonds or squares, and are sometimes decorated with a geometric pattern. The pan consists of a metal frame with a diameter of 60 to 85 mm and a depth of 50 to 60 mm. There are also two rings (one on each side) that take the form of cylinders 60 mm in diameter. The instrument has a wooden soundboard and usually a crescent-shaped wooden bridge. It is usually finished with varnish, paint or plastic. Advantages of the handpan
Advantages of the handpan
The handpan is made of aluminum, which makes it extremely durable.
Because of its construction, the handpan is very easy to transport and carry, since it is both light and easy to hold.
It can be played on any surface, including the ground or even water!
Its sound can be amplified using a variety of methods It’s very inexpensive.
Disadvantages of the handpan
The handpan does have a few drawbacks.
It’s not very noisy. You’ll need to find ways of increasing the sound amplification.
Its range of notes is limited, which can be a hindrance to musicians who don’t want to be restricted in their creativity.
To produce complex sounds, the player must use a lip or mouthpiece, which adds to the cost.
Handpan players may find it difficult to blend in with an orchestra, as there is no percussion section.
How to choose a handpan?
The difficulty in choosing a handpan is thatthere are handpans for every level of player. So, when choosing a handpan, it’s important to consider the following factors:
- The size of the instrument: The standard handpan has a diameter of around 12 inches and a depth of 10 to 15 inches.
- The number of frets: Handpans with more frets offer a wider range of notes.
- The type of scroll: Handpans come with different types of scroll, which can be circles, diamonds or squares.
- Material: Handpans are made of aluminum, stainless steel or titanium.
- Finish: Handpans can be finished with varnish, paint or plastic.
- Sound amplification.
There’s a handpan for every level of player.
How to play the handpan
The handpan is played in the same way as a steel drum. The player strikes the surface of the drum with his hands to create different notes. Handpans are becoming increasingly popular, and can be heard in music all over the world.
Different handpan styles
Today, there are many different styles of handpan. The most popular are the Swiss, German and American styles.
The Swiss-style handpan is the original style of handpan, invented by Felix Rohner in Switzerland in 2000. These handpans are made of stainless steel and have a soft, ethereal sound.
Famous handpan players
There are many famous handpan players around the world. Among the best-known are
- Pascal Roge: A Swiss handpan player known for his ethereal sound.
- Steven Halpern: Renowned American New Age musician who plays a variety of instruments, including the handpan.
- Tomás Gayo: Spanish handpan player known for his unique style and improvisational approach to music.
- Luca Di Casola: Italian handpan player known for his jazz-influenced approach to the instrument.