Inspiration, Pond5 Playlist

Handpan Music to Connect with Your Inner Calm

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Leave your Beta brainwave worries behind and tap into your calming Alpha waves with handpan music.

The handpan is a captivating instrument heard in today’s music scene. Listeners feel a sense of wonder from its unique sound and enchanting playing technique. The handpan was devised in the early 2000s and swiftly gained popularity worldwide. From the Caribbean steel drum to the Indian tabla, the handpan smoothly blends many influences, resulting in a harmonic fusion that transcends borders.

Learn about the instrument’s history and discover some talented Pond5 artists whose music will inspire you to incorporate the melodic sounds of the handpan in your next creative project.

What Is a Handpan Drum?

A handpan drum, also known simply as a handpan, is a musical instrument in the percussion family that blends art and science. Let’s explore its fascinating characteristics:

 

Origins and Design:

  • The handpan, originally called a “Hang”, was created in the early 2000s by Swiss inventors Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer of PANArt. Inspired by Caribbean steel drums, they sought to develop an instrument transcending cultural boundaries.
  • The handpan resembles a convex metal disc with a central note field. Its surface features a series of dimples or “tone fields,” each one carefully tuned to produce a specific pitch.
  • These tone fields are arranged in a circular pattern, creating a harmonious layout akin to a cosmic mandala or even a UFO.

 

Playing Technique:

  • To play the handpan, a musician rests it on their lap or a stand. The player’s hands move across the surface, striking the tone fields with their fingertips.
  • The handpan responds with warm, resonant tones—reminiscent of distant bells, celestial winds, and ancient echoes.

 

Magical Harmonics:

  • The handpan’s harmonics arise from the interaction of its metal alloy (usually stainless steel) and the carefully shaped dimples.
  • When struck, the metal vibrates, producing fundamental notes and overtones. These overtones create a rich, layered sound that captivates the senses.
  • Each handpan has a unique timbre influenced by its shape, material, and craftsmanship.
  • Its sound is percussive yet melodic, inviting listeners into a meditative trance.

 

Global Community:

  • Handpan enthusiasts and players form a passionate global community. They gather at festivals, workshops, and online forums to share techniques, compositions, and stories.
  • Makers worldwide craft handpans and infuse them with unique artistic flair. Over 400 handpan manufacturers are on the market today, offering a wide selection of varying quality.

 

Controversies and Trademarks:

  • Since PANArt registered the name Hang as a trademark for its musical instruments, the term “handpan” emerged to describe this family of instruments.

Meet some Handpan Music Pond5 Artists to Inspire Your Creative Projects

    1. LawrenceToddSalzman has been a Pond5 Artist since 2016. He’s an American-based percussionist emphasizing bright, inspirational, uplifting World music. His track, Peaceful Hand Pan Drum, would suit yoga or meditation videos well. But why not try it in your True Crime podcast? It might be the missing piece.
    2. Pond5 Artist Dubtrak has been a contributor since 2021. Based in Toronto, Canada, Dubtrak creates music in various styles, from electronic and ambient to world music and cinematic. Imagine this Sunrise Vista track accompanying a happy ending scene in your romantic comedy as the couple embraces on the beach. The world is your oyster.
    3. Superkons, a Pond5 Arist since 2020, creates music for film, TV, and video games. Many tracks include helpful suggestions in the title for the type of genre you might be creating, so let that guide you. For example, you could use a track like The Hand Pan Case #1 (Dark Emotional Investigative Suspense) in your procedural drama while the characters investigate the evidence. Or use it for an intimate scene between characters. Consider all your options!

The handpan drum transcends mere music—it invites us to connect with the cosmos, express our inner melodies, and journey beyond borders. A Pond5 music subscription gives you access to original Handpan Music tracks, including music from the artists we’ve highlighted here and more of the world’s top musicians. Are you feeling zen yet?