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Dive into the enchanting universe of the Hijaz scale on the hang drum, a musical instrument that blends the depth of percussion with melodic finesse for an unparalleled well-being experience.

Known for its mystical tones that evoke the soundscapes of the Middle East, the steel pan in the Hijaz scale fascinates both beginners seeking sound exploration and experts wishing to deepen their practice.

This article offers a journey through the secrets of the Hijaz scale, advises on buying a handpan, and guides you to the best places to acquire this instrument, new or used.

Embark on this musical adventure to discover how to integrate the magic of the Hijaz hang drum into your life.

Also read: The Dorian scale on handpan

1. A Scale with Oriental Origins

The Hijaz scale on the handpan instrument is a melodic bridge that connects Eastern musical traditions with contemporary artistic expression. Its unique sound, imbued with mystery and exoticism, finds its roots in the rich musical cultures of the East, making it a prized musical scale far beyond its original borders.

a. Origins and Oriental Influence

The Hijaz scale is deeply rooted in the musical heritage of Egypt, where it is traditionally called “Hijaz,” reflecting its essence and popularity in Eastern regions.

Its distinctive character lies in its dominant Phrygian style, captivating and awakening the senses from the first notes. This scale invites exploration of the soul of the Orient, offering a window into its ancient musical traditions.

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b. The Spanish Phrygian Scale

Beyond its native lands, the Hijaz scale is often compared to the Spanish Phrygian or Gypsy scale, highlighting its similarities with flamenco melodies and traditional Spanish tunes.

This cultural connection illustrates the Hijaz scale’s ability to transcend geographical boundaries, weaving links between seemingly disparate musical worlds.

c. Presence in Western Music

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Theoretically, the Hijaz scale is identified as the fifth mode of the harmonic minor scale, a mode that subtly infiltrates some Western music genres like progressive rock and metal.

Tracks such as “In the Name of God” by Dream Theater and “Come Out and Play” by The Offspring reveal the influence of the Hijaz, proving its adaptability and resonance in various musical contexts. Attentive listening to these compositions offers a new perspective on the versatility of this enigmatic scale.

Through these explorations, the Hijaz scale on the steel handpan is revealed to be more than just a musical scale; it is a bridge between cultures, an endless source of inspiration for musicians, and a conduit for deep emotions for listeners.


2. A Scale that Perfectly Eliminates Unwanted Interference

The Hijaz scale on the hang drum is renowned for its ability to produce clear and distinct sounds, eliminating the interference often encountered with lower-quality instruments. This unique characteristic makes it a preferred musical scale for musicians seeking to fully express the purity of each note.

a. Purity and Clarity of Sound

  • Isolation of Notes

The Hijaz scale allows each note to be played in isolation, without activating surrounding notes. This isolation capability ensures exceptional sound clarity, where each note resonates precisely and without interference.

  • Instrument Quality

Every note of the Hijaz scale reveals the craftsmanship quality of the handpan. High-quality instruments produce pure and resonant sounds, while lower-quality handpans may suffer from note interference, blurring the sound's purity.

b. Choice of Professional Musicians

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- Professional musicians prefer the Hijaz scale for its clear and distinct tones. This scale's ability to produce precise sounds without unwanted interference makes it ideal for performances, recordings, and therapeutic sessions. The quality and purity of the Hijaz sound inspire musicians to create and explore deeper musical expressions.

- The Hijaz scale on the handpan is renowned for its ability to produce clear and distinct sounds, eliminating the interference often encountered with lower-quality instruments.

This unique characteristic makes it a preferred musical scale for musicians seeking to fully express the purity of each note.

The preference for this scale is explained by:

  • Its ability to produce a pure and isolated sound.
  • The absence of unwanted interference, allowing for more faithful musical expression.

For lovers of perfect tones, buying a Hijaz handpan proves to be an excellent choice. It not only enriches the musical palette but also ensures a high-quality listening experience, valued by musicians worldwide.

3. Basic Characteristics of the Hijaz Scale on the Hang Drum

The Hijaz scale on the steel pan drums offers a unique sonic exploration, transporting the listener into a distinctly oriental musical universe. Its basic characteristics highlight its ability to evoke deep emotions and provide therapeutic benefits, especially for those seeking to improve their sleep quality.

a. Unique Sound and Composition

  • Oriental Nuance

The Hijaz scale is distinguished by its deeply oriental tones, capable of evoking a sense of travel and escape.

  • Note Configuration

Typically composed of 9 notes, some Hijaz handpans may exceptionally contain up to 10 notes, allowing for a richer and more diverse sound.

b. Accordage et fréquences

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  • Standard 440 Hertz: Following the standard established in the 1970s, most Hijaz handpans are tuned to 440 Hz, favoring harmonization with most modern instruments.

  • Mystical Alternative at 432 Hertz: Some models offer tuning at 432 Hz, sought after for its supposed healing properties and its ability to synchronize with the natural vibrations of the universe.

These aspects make the Hijaz handpan a preferred choice for those seeking not only a rich musical experience but also an instrument with potential therapeutic virtues.

Whether for solo use or in an ensemble, the Hijaz handpan enriches any musical composition with its depth and enchanting sound.

c. Summary of the Hijaz Scale’s Characteristics and Virtues

Characteristics Details of the Hijaz Scale
Cultural Origin Middle East, evoking oriental depth
Sound Oriental, capable of evoking unique journeys and emotions
Number of Notes 9 to 10 notes, offering melodic diversity
Standard Tuning 440 Hertz, compliant with contemporary musical standards
Mystical Alternative 432 Hertz, sought for its relaxing properties and harmony with natural vibrations
Therapeutic Benefits Potentially beneficial for well-being and sleep disorder management


Embark on a unique musical journey with our selection of Hijaz handpans. Discover the mystical sounds that will transform your musical practice.

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Browse our collection now and find the sound companion of your dreams.

4. Construction and Use of the Hijaz Scale

The Hijaz scale on the hang drum invites you to explore the enchanting sounds of the Middle East, thanks to its specific harmonic construction and versatile use that captivates musicians of all backgrounds.

a. Construction of the Hijaz Scale

To shape the dominant Phrygian mode characteristic of the Hijaz scale, it starts from a Phrygian base to which a major third is added, a choice that gives the scale its distinctive dominant quality.

The notes of this scale are arranged as follows: 1 – b2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – b6 – b7 – 1, with intervals expressed in semitones following the sequence: 1 – 3 – 1 – 2 – 1 – 2 – 2. This particular structure is the key to its unique sound identity, offering a rich palette of musical colors with oriental nuances.

b. Musical Exploitation of the Phrygian Mode

The dominant Phrygian mode is remarkably flexible, easily adapting to various musical expressions. To start, one technique is to play a note in eighth-note value while modulating the other notes of the scale to create ascending or descending movements. This method opens up a wide range of rhythmic and melodic expressions.

Additionally, integrating the steel pan into an instrumental ensemble, emphasizing the Hijaz scale, enriches the sound fabric and highlights the uniqueness of this scale. This collaborative approach underscores the compatibility of the Hijaz scale with other instruments, offering new creative perspectives to musicians seeking to merge traditional and innovative musical elements.

With Zena-Drum, dive into the oriental universe with our exclusive collection of Hijaz handpans. Express your musical creativity. Buy yours now and start your journey of sound relaxation.



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Explore the oriental sounds with our Hijaz handpans. Dive into the enchanting universe of the Hijaz scale and let yourself be transported by its melodious and vibrant tones.

Discover our collection of Hijaz handpans and find the ideal instrument to express your creativity and journey to new musical horizons.

The Hijaz scale on the handpan is a gateway to a rich and captivating musical world. Combining Eastern tradition with contemporary expression, it offers musicians the opportunity to explore unique sounds and delve into rare emotional depth.

Embrace the magic of the Hijaz scale to enrich your musical practice and journey through the mystical sounds that connect the past to the present.

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1. What scale is Hijaz?

The Hijaz scale is a mode derived from the harmonic minor scale, known for its distinctive Eastern sound. It is characterized by its unique interval pattern, producing mystical and exotic tones, making it popular in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean music.

2. What is the best scale for a handpan?

The best scale for a handpan depends on personal preference and musical style. Popular scales include Hijaz, Kurd, and Celtic. Hijaz offers exotic tones, Kurd provides a harmonious and versatile sound, and Celtic is known for its serene and soothing qualities.

2. What key is the handpan in?

Handpans are available in various keys. Common keys include D minor, C minor, and F major. The key determines the tonal center and overall mood of the instrument. The choice of key should match the desired musical expression and harmonization with other instruments.

4. What is the Kurd scale?

The Kurd scale is a popular handpan scale known for its balanced and versatile sound. It is similar to the natural minor scale, providing a harmonious blend of notes that suit various musical styles, from meditative and relaxing to more dynamic and expressive compositions.

5. How do I choose the right handpan scale for me?

Choosing the right handpan scale involves considering your musical goals and preferences. Listen to different scales like Hijaz, Kurd, and Celtic to find the one that resonates with you. Think about the emotions you want to convey and how the scale complements your playing style.