“Digging through the history of a unique Handpan sound”
The UFO-like shape of the Handpan hides just as mystical, almost hypnotic sound. Modern-day musicians have found that Handpans are perfect tools to connect with their souls and translate deeply hidden messages of their hearts.
Audiences, on the other hand find the sound relaxing, soft, and inspiring. The sound of the Handpan feels like coming back home.
Speaking of home… Let’s dive deeper into the history of Handpan.
Steel drum family descendant
The rich ethereal sound of the instrument emulates one of the steel pans from the Caribbean Islands. However, it's authentic history has a bit more to it.
The steel drum we call Handpan was recognized as the “Hang” — a work that means “hand” in the Bernese German dialect.
However, there is another layer to it. “Hang” can be referred to as a term used for a group of one-of-a-kind musical instruments that originated from a growing worldwide interest in the Hang.
Who started the Hand Pan Fuzz?
The instrument’s origins could be found in Bern, Switzerland. Hang (Handpan) was created by Felix Rohner and Sabrina Schårer.
Felix Rohner was widely recognized for playing a musical instrument called the Trinidad steel drum. Trinidad steel drum received it’s first recognition in Europe in the early 70’s.
With a deep and clear understanding of steel, Felix and his business partner Sabrina Schårer established PANArt in 1990, a company for creating dented musical instruments. However, it took them over a decade to introduce Hang to the larger public.
In 2001, Felix and Sabrina officially introduced Hang in Musikmesse Frankfurt in Germany.
Grand Popularity Rise
After this presentation, Hang was brought into the spotlight.
It got adored for its mysterious and beautiful tone as well as its unique scales. Despite the amazing public response to the instrument, its creators did not mass produce it, and as a result, it was only available in a limited number each year.
The creators’ perspective was pure, they wanted this instrument to be used as a tool for artistic expression, not for mass production. On the other hand, other instrument makers took this reason as an opportunity to craft their unique versions of the Hang.
Other version began to erupt in Europe and United States around 2007, with a slight difference.
These models were referred to as the “Handpan”, not “Hang. Today, there are over 100 makers of Handpan in the world.
Each of them brought something unique to the instrument and sound, and the subjective and objective quality varies from one Handpan maker to the other.
Intriguing “Hang” Buying Policy
With the intent to keep the originality of the Hang, Felix and Sabrina established a quite unusual buying policy. They asked their potential customers to craft a hand-written letter explaining why they needed it.
This process resulted in people waiting for the instruments for months, sometimes even years.
Finally, in the year 2013, PanArt stopped producing Hang. The explanation behind this decision was the desire to preserve the value, mystique, and elusiveness of their unique musical instrument.
Who can play Handpan?
For most people, Handpan is considered to be a generous gift to the music of the 21st century. Everything about this instrument is vivid, rich, and expansive.
Although, probably most exciting thing about the Handpan is that its nature encourages authentic expression of the soul because anybody can play it. With such amazing quality, more and more people choose Handpans to soothe themselves and uncover some deeply hidden feelings though melody.
More so, Handpan is becoming more and more popular among yoga teachers and sound healers.
Since it is a new instrument, rights or wrongs are pretty much non-existent. Everything about the Handpan is encouraging explorations and finding your own sound. There is so much to uncover when it comes to playing this instrument, the possibilities seem endless.
The real-life story of a Hand Pan healing effect
The story of Josiah Collett, a 10-year-old autistic boy from Broxbourne, England, is heartwarming and inspiring.
Josiah was bullied at school by his peers which led him to close himself up. Josiah’s family was worried, they’ve noticed significant changes in his behavior, but they couldn’t find immediately a way to handle the situation.
During a family vacation to Belgium, the Collet family heard an almost magical sound in the distance. They followed the sound down the street and found a busker playing what we today call a Handpan.
Josiah was a natural talent for music, he taught himself to play drums when he was two years old. And since everything about the instrument fascinated Georgia, Josiah’s mother, she was considering of buying her son this one-of-a kind instrument.
One day, at the Handpan gathering in the UK, a musician handed Josiah one of his instruments. Josiah put it in his lap and magic began. Ethereal music filled the scene, and people gathered to admire this otherworldly performance.
The musician asked Josiah how long he’d been playing. He was shocked to learn that Josiah had never before tried the instrument.
“At that moment, I discovered what I was born to do.” Said Josiah.
Soothe your mind and soul with Handpan loops
If you’ve come all the way here, you must be curious to get to know even more about this exquisite instrument.
The good news is — that you don’t have to play, or obtain a Handpan to enjoy its multifaceted sound. Instead, feel free to explore the tracks that will elevate your soul and put your mind at ease.
Check out the Handpan soul food here.