The Hang (pronounced "hung"), manufactured by PANArt of Bern, Switzerland, is a revolutionary hybrid instrument and a stellar addition to the world of melodic percussion. The instrument, which looks like a flying saucer, resulted from many years of research on the steel pan and various percussion instruments from around the globe. Comprised of hardened special metal (1 mm thick), which ensures long-lasting stability of the tone, the 21-inch wide, 9 1/2-inch high Hang weighs just over 8 pounds; it's easily portable and quite durable.
The Hang is designed to capture the flavor of a steel pan, with a centrally placed knobbed protrusion, known as the "ding," that serves as a low tone, surrounded by eight note fields that form the instrument's scale. The bottom side consists of a hand-size opening that produces a deep-sounding bass tone with up to an octave variation. The sonic characteristics of the bottom are reminiscent of two of the more well-known clay pot instruments, the udu (Nigeria) and ghatam (India). What is most wonderful about the Hang is the wide variety of tones that can be produced all over the instrument, largely dependant on what part of the hand is used ("hang" is "hand" in the Bernese dialect). The drum is usually played in the lap as the musician sits cross-legged, or the instrument can be placed on a stand.
The Hang I received from PANArt was customized so that I could have a scale of E, F, G, G#, A, B, C, D with a low A, thus giving me both the minor and major thirds in the key of E. Depending on where I place the instrument, I can prioritize specific notes in the scale to capture a distinct mood. The great news is that PANArt can customize the Hang's eight notes and center pitch to the specifications of each player, so make sure to carefully plan which notes you want before ordering.
Having performed numerous times in concert with the Hang, I can attest that it is the one instrument that audiences always remember. This extraordinary instrument offers such a stunning blend of sounds and melodic possibilities that it's only a matter of time before the Hang catches the attention of musicians and audiences worldwide. (For more information, log on to: www.hang.ch/en)