The term hang drum was started as the sound sculpture or misnomer for a musical instrument called the hang and currently this hang drum is also called as the handpan. The hang drum sound sculpture has a peculiar UFO shape which result on the gluing two half shells of deep drawn and the nitrated steel is placed together at the rim. Inside the instrument there is a hollow and in the outside it has the tone and note fields hammered into it and in the top shell it has a center note which is surrounded by the 7-9 tone fields whereas the bottom shell has a tuned port centered on the bottom. The tone and notes field are usually played with the finger strikes that can be of dynamic but without having the aggressive force.

The hang is not a drum in which the typically drum is defined as that it will be in the shape of goblet or cylindrical covered at one end with a tightly stretched skin in which it is struck with the sticks or hand to produce the booming, tapping or popping sound. Where the term drum involves in the deep handed playing methods particularly for the people who have exposed to the solid rocking drum sets and they use this technique for de-tuning and running the instrument. Unlike the ordinary drum the hang drum does not fit perfectly into the classification of Hornbostel sachs and the hang drum is the instrument of melodic percussion where its primary sound is produced by vibrating the fields of tone which is described as the acoustic membranes. When considering the acoustic fundamental properties the tone field falls somewhere between the idiophone and membranephone.

Why the hang drum should not be used as a generic for handpans

Why many of them believe that we should not use the term hang drum for the generic term of the handpans and the hang this is because of the following reasons of the hang drum. They are

  • The hang drum is a misnomer
  • For most people the drum implies in a heavy handed playing method which will damage the handpans
  • The hang drum instrument is not a drum in the common use of the word and it is very difficult to classify it technically
  • The professional genre mostly avoid using the term “hang drum”
  • The hang is the trademark name for the PANArt
  • The best alternative instruments are available for the hang drum

The hang drum is a musical instrument which looks like the drum and it is not the exact instrument of drum where the name is used commonly just for the identification purpose and the instrument has the hole in the bottom which acts as the bass for the instrument. The sound quality of the instrument will be so good and it is very easy to keep in the hand while playing the instrument and it does not have the facility of the hang.