Introducing the PANArt Hang . . .
The first time I saw an image of the exotic sounding, musical percussion instrument called the Hang, I thought it was some kind of Chinese stir-fry cooking metal wok turned upside-down or a round kettle barbecue grill, that had been modified and improvised musically to be played with the hands like bongo drums. Curious as to its true nature and origin, I did my homework and researched the Hang.
I learned that the instrument is constructed from two half-shells of deep drawn, nitrided steel sheet glued together at the rim leaving the inside hollow and creating a distinct “UFO shape.” The top (Ding) side has a center “note” hammered into it and seven or eight “tone fields” hammered around the center. The bottom (Gu) is a plain surface that has a rolled hole in the center with a tuned note that can be created when the rim is struck.
The Hang uses some of the same basic physical principles as a steelpan, but modified in such a way as to act as a Helmholtz resonator. Its name, “Hang,” comes from the Bernese German word for hand. The creation of the Hang was the result of many years of research on the steelpan and other instruments. The inventors of the Hang have continued to refine the shape and materials and have produced several variations over the years (see banner at page top). You can read more information about the Hang at Wikipedia.
The amazing thing about the Hang is the totally soothing and deeply relaxing musical sounds it can produce, notwithstanding its odd appearance and unusual design. The musical sounds are reminiscent of little Asian nipple gongs, except for the sprightlier bouncy sound quality. The experience of listening to the Hang being played can be quite hypnotic. The sound seems to penetrate one’s soul with a meditative sense of comfort and ease that wafts lightly and gently through and around the mind, like the way the scented smoke of slow-burning fragrant incense dances in the air enticing one’s olfactory sense.
The Hang is a product of consciousness unfolding in the 21st century. If the Hang brings a sense of magic and heavenly wonder to our ears, it should not be surprising to us who live in an age of spiritual awakening.
The following two videos will introduce you to the Hang and its ethereal sound.
Now here are some examples of Hang music played by very talented Hang musicians who are accomplished artists in their own right.
Basics of Creating Hang Melodies
Meditation: Motion I
Daniel Waples Playing the Hang/Spacedrum at Edinburgh
“Midnite” by Daniel Waples
More of Daniel Waples Performing Inside a Tunnel
Hang Playing Hedge Monkeys – “North, East, West, South”
Aikyo Quartet Playing “Granada” (Hang, Bells, Flute and Cello)
Peter Levitov and Maxime le Royer – “Firefly”
“Time Enigma” by Justin Godfrey
Spacedrum Solo by Yuki Koshimoto
What a remarkable musical instrument the Hang is! You can find more Hang music online at YouTube.