Instruments of the World – The Hang

TheHangSideAppearance can sometimes be deceptive. This instrument here that looks like a miniature flying saucer or two cooking pans put on top of each other would seem like some traditional percussion instrument that produces gong-like sounds. It has however been invented as late as 2000 A.D. after an extensive research on gongs, Ghatam, cow bells, drums and other percussion instruments. You will really appreciate the research that has gone into the making of this instrument after you have heard its melodious sound. Few percussion instruments that I know of produce sound as sweet as this one.

The Hang [pronounced ‘Hung’] was created by Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer of the PANArt Company in Switzerland in 2000 and was first displayed at the Frankfurt music fair in 2001. The hang consists of two steel pans with nitride surface that are attached to each other. The top side [called the ding side] contains eight tone fields which together form the tone circle. This circle surrounds a central dome called the Ding. The other side is called the Gu side which is a plain steel pan with a hand sized hole in the middle for sound resonance. [For the techies: it is a Helmholtz resonator; remember the tuning fork and resonance tube experiments of your schooldays]

There are many ways to invite the Hang to sound: with fingertips, thumbs, and the heel of the palm – and a mix of all three. Most of the time, the Hang sits on the player’s knees, but you also could play it on a drum stand. Players can let their hands and their feelings discover how to play.

If you have a Hang you can put it under the rain and you will listen the symphony of the gods! it make a exact time song and it’s so deep.

– Joan Oench

The Hang is produced only in Bern, Switzerland and hence is a very difficult instrument to obtain. The creators only by the PANArt company which is a small company and hence produces a very limited number per year. You have to either go to Bern and obtain one yourself or write a letter to the company for obtaining one. It is not just a simple letter but more like an SOP for obtaining a hang. If they don’t like you, you may have to wait for a long time to get it.

The instrument being so rare and so young has not been used much in mainstream music. However, it sounds do fantastic by itself that it does not need the company of an orchestra for one to appreciate it. We have shown here a few videos that will give you a sneak preview of this fantastic instrument. Soon we will be back with another such rare and lovely instrument. Until then, enjoy!

Randy Granger gives an introduction to the Hang (beware of his bad jokes! )

Biddle de duddle de doo!

Deepak says:

Great post about a wonderful instrument. Thanks