WHAT'S A HANDPAN
Originally named Hang (plural form: Hanghang), the handpan was first created in 2000 by artisans Felix Rohener and Sabina Schärer in Bern, Switzerland, using the brand name PANart, using an original design by .
In 2001 after undergoing a series of modifications and enhancements, the instrument was launched at Frankfurt Music Fair and then distributed all over the world. The hang is a percussion instrument made of a metal alloy, trademarked by its creators as «Pang» or «Pang-Bleach», a Nitrogen-enriched metal foil.
In the local dialect from Bern «Hang» means «hand» and the instrument design was inspired by a number of other instruments such as the Steel Drum, the Ghatam, the Udu, the Gong and the Tabla. The Hang has long been one of the most sought after instruments in the world: initially PANArt could not process the constant growing number of orders. At that point, some of the leading percussion manufacturers in the world decided to take the challenge by designing a similar product in order to meet the needs of such an unexpectedly large number of players-to-be. The new instruments would then be named differently according to the country it was made in: Halo, in the US, Bells in Spain, Space Drum in France, Bali in Indonesia, Disco Armonico was the Italian name, Innersound and Caisa the German names, while SPB was trademarked in Russia. The whole family of these instruments is now known as Handpan, after the ™ by Pantheon who originally produced the Halo.
Pantam, possibly of Russian origins, and Sound Sculpture, by PANArt are two other two names currently used for the handpan. Round-shaped handpan is made of two turtleshell-like parts placed one against the other. The average weight is about 4 kilos, with a diameter of 53 cm. The average handpan is 25 cm high, but today some bigger models are available on the market, as well as enhanced versions of the original model, meant to create newer and better sounds.
Thanks to the numerous international festivals and music contests, today the handpan is becoming popular and has an ever growing community of fans who have been charmed by its penetrating and dream-like sounds.