It's not hard to reason this one but you migh...
The hang drum (or hang), quite simply put, is one of the most amazing new additions to the world of percussion instruments. Pronounced "han," it falls into the idiophone group of instruments. This means the hang drum creates sound primarily by way of the instrument’s vibrating--without the use of any strings and membranes.
There are only two people in the whole world who can make this instrument as per its original requirements. They also happen to be its inventors, Switzerland's Felix Rohner and Sabina Scharer.
They created the hang drum in 2000, after years of research on steel pans and other resonating percussion instruments around the world such as the cowbell, the musical saw, ghatam, drums, gong, etc. They have a small workshop in Berne where every single hang till date has been created.
As such, it is not at all easy to procure the instrument. The dynamic duo even have an interview process that interested folk have to pass before they even consider the possibility of creating a hang drum for them.
This may seem exclusive and elitist but given the unique structuring of each and every drum, not to mention the effort that goes into it, this screening is required! It has only increased the interest surrounding the instrument. They officially released the hang drum in in 2001 at the Musikmesse Frankfurt.
The drum itself is made from two deep drawn, nitrided steel sheets that are attached together to give it a distinct 'UFO' shape. There is nothing inside the Hang but air. The top side has a distinct "ding" sound, which has a centre note hammered into it on top of having 7 to 8 tone fields hammered around it.
The bottom is less complex, and is known to make a "gu" sound. It consists of a rolled hole in the centre with a tuned note that can be created when the rim is struck. Technically, it's based on the same physical principles as a steelpan, but thanks to its nitrided surface and the small opening within the clamped shells, the resulting sound is much deeper and much more melodic.
Today, many people refer to this instrument as the 'Hang Drum,' however the 'drum label' has expressed its disapproval about using this term. According to PANart (the only company that makes the instrument), "Treating it as a drum and promoting the name Hang Drum, for instance, has created a ripple effect of misinformation that leads to damaged Hang, physical injury, and mental and emotional turbulence."
There are many ways in which one can produce a sound on the hang. This includes fingertips, thumbs and even the heel of the palm--and even, a mixture of all three. Most often, hang players have been known to place it on their knee, but some opt for drum stands as well.
Out of all famous hang players--there are several like David Swarupe and Dante Bucci--Manu Delago is the most renowned. Years of playing the hang have led to his unique technique of playing the instrument and his compositions on the whimsical instrument are dreamy and fluid to say the least!
Here's an example of the beautiful sounds produced by the hang drum:
-Pictures courtesy hang-music.com and pan-hang.com-
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