Maybe you saw a video of this beautiful instrument on the internet. Or you saw someone playing it. Either way, you are hooked to it’s hypnotic sound. But, what is this instrument? What is it called? Can anyone play it easily? How to get one of these? Read on to know more.
Handpan is a melodic percussion musical instrument of the idiophone class, generally made out of mild steel. A well made handpan will produce melodious and gentle tones. Apart from the sound itself, the biggest appeal of this instrument is that anyone can play this instrument. No music knowledge is required to play and enjoy a handpan. However, those with musical sense and knowledge will be able to play this more expressively. The most common handpan design is 8 + 1, which is 1 central note (called the Ding) and 8 notes in the circle. The notes and scales are carefully selected such that even random playing the notes will result in beautiful music. Handpans are not just musical instruments, they are magical in how they motivate, heal and bring mental peace to people in today’s stressful lifestyle.
This instrument is known by different names such as Pantam, Cupola, Sound Sculpture, UFO Drum etc, but the most popular name is Handpan. It is one of the newest musical instruments to be invented. In 2000, the Swiss company PanArt developed this instrument by combining principles of two musical instruments – the Caribbean Steel Pan and the Indian Ghatam. They called this new instrument the Hang, which in Bernese German means ‘Hand‘. Introduced in 2001, the Hang became popular instantly. Eventually, when others started making these instruments, PanArt prevented them from using their trademark name, the Hang. So, a new name, Handpan, was coined. The instrument has evolved over the years and musicians have been pushing the boundaries of how this instrument can be explored.
There has been a growing interest for handpans globally, because of their ethereal, captivating sound. Even today, these instruments are quite rare as they are hand crafted, not mass produced in factories. It takes thousands of hammer blows and hundreds of hours of dedication to build a handpan. As a Handpan Maker in India, Mantra Handpans is crafting quality instruments which have beautiful tonal characteristics as well as stable, long lasting tuning. Please check out our different sound models here.