Resembling a small UFO crafted during the The “Byzantine Empire, the Hang Drum” is actually not a drum at all, it is simply called a “Hang” (pronounced “Hung” and meaning “hand"). It was created in late 1999 in Bern Switzerland (you know, the place that is home to the Large Hadron Collider, the worlds most advanced particle accelerator?) by two instrument builders named Sabina Scharer and Felix Rohner from the company Panart.
The Hang is played by flicking the sides of the thumb over the different indentations, which each produce a different tone. Each Hang is designed typically in one scale so there are essentially no wrong notes to hit (an F minor hang, a C major hang, etc.). This encourages fluid and almost hypnotic playing styles, driving by constant rhythm.
A Music Company called Lark in the Morning, specializing in rare instruments, gave the name “Hang Drum” to the “Hang” to increase it’s marketability. After popularity of the instrument spread in the early 2000’s from busker’s video performances being uploaded to Youtube, the name “Hang Drum” had spread virally. Unfortunately for it’s creators, the name “Hang Drum” has caused an overwhelming amount of confusion over the internet. Naming the instrument a "drum" has caused many players to damage the instrument and injure themselves from hitting it too hard. It requires a light and quick technique rather than a hard hitting one, like many percussion instruments typically favor. The term "Hang" is also a registered trademark by the company and any spin off instruments of their invention are known as "Handpans".
Want to hear what it sounds like? Watch this beautiful performance by the talented London street performer, Daniel Waples (check out his FB page by clicking the his name), please comment below and share this blog with your friends! I appreciate all of your thoughts, words and ideas!