The term hang drum is a misnomer for a musical instrument or “sound sculpture” called a Hang. At our Sydney Recording Studio we would love to have a Hang! But they are so rare now because PanArt stopped making them. They fetch up to $15000 on EBAY!
Sydney Recording Studio: What Is A Hang?
In November 1999, instrument builders Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer of PANArt created the first Hang (Plural: Hanghang) prototype in Bern, Switzerland. Hang means “hand” in the Bernese German language, and is pronounced “hung or hong”.
The development of the Hang began after years of research on the making of, tuning and developing specific metals for the steelpan. Also contributing to the Hangs birth was the study of Gongs, Gamelan, Ghatam, Udu, drums and bells. Daniel Coates of our Sydney Recording Studio loves Hangs and would love to own one one day.
The sound sculpture has a peculiar “UFO shape” that is the result of gluing two half-shells of deep drawn, nitrated steel together at the rim. The inside of the instrument is hollow and the outside has notes and tone fields hammered into it. The top shell has a center note that is surrounded by 7-9 tone fields. The bottom shell has a tuned port centered on the bottom. The notes and tone fields are usually played with finger strikes that can be dynamic but without aggressive force.
Sydney Recording Studio: How it differs from a drum
Unlike a drum, the Hang does not fit so perfectly into a Hornbostel-Sachs classification. The Hang is a melodic percussion instrument. Its primary sound is produced by vibrating tone fields described as acoustic membranes. The Hang also vibrates as a whole to produce sound on a secondary, but important, level. The instrument also acts as a Helmholtz resonator. When considering the fundamental acoustic properties, the tone field falls somewhere between a membranophone (same category as a drum) and a idiophone (same category as a gong).
Hangs were made by Panart