Hang Pan Drum
Original Manufacturer, PANArt
The Hang, also called the Hang Pan drum is truly a musical instrument of the 21st Century having been introduced to the market in the year 2000 by Sabina Schärer and Felix Rohner in Bern, Switzerland. The name comes from the German word for hand. In the mid 1970s steel pans of the Caribbean islands had become very popular in Switzerland. In addition to the steel pans manufactured in the Caribbean, Switzerland also had become well known for their manufacture. Inspired by the steel pan, Felix and Sabine researched and experimented with forming musical instruments from steel for six years. They finally formed a company called PANArt and developed a number of musical instruments based on the steel pan: the Ping, the Pong and the Peng.
The Hang pan drum is technically an idiophone, which is an instrument that produces sound when struck, shaken, or scraped. The Hang is handmade and constructed from two hollow half spheres of steel that have been deep-drawn stamped and gas-nitrided. Both the deep-drawn metal stamping process and the gas-nitriding process hardens the metal. The two spheres are glued together. The bottom of the drum has a hole in center, and the top has seven or eight tone areas hammered around its center.
The Hang pan drum is played with the hands and fingers while resting on the player’s lap. The sound produced is rich in overtones and a much softer or warmer sound than that of the steel pan.
Other companies have attempted to mass-produce the Hang, but to date have not been successful in achieving the special tonal quality of the Hang. Today PANArt remains essentially the only manufacturer of the Hang . Because they are hand-made and cannot be mass produced. It is difficult to buy a Hang. At the time of this writing an original PANArt Hang on eBay has been bid up to EUR 2,620.00 or US $3,265.04, with five days left to go on the auction!