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What are the differences between the handpan and the tongue drum?

Differences between handpan and tongue drum, handpan or tongue drum, handpan and tongue drum differences, tongue drum, tongue drum

Tongue drum, handpan - two new names in the music world for two musical instruments that emerged in the 21st century.

But what are the differences between these two instruments?

To bring them into better focus, let's first look at their strange similarities.

Two diatonic instruments

The Handpan is a brand name registered in 2007 by an American company called PANArt. The instrument that strongly inspired it is the Hang, invented in 2000 by Swiss Felix Rohner and Sabina Shärer.

The two had derived their instrument from the steel drum or steel pan, a metal drum with a beguiling sound.

The handpan is a diatonic musical instrument that occurs in both heptatonic and pentatonic.

In other words, it is an instrument that does not have all the notes of the chromatic scale. That is, it cannot play semitones, which are represented on notes by the symbols c-sharp and b-flat.

The heptatonic character of the handpan means that the musical scale has seven steps, that is, seven notes.

The pentatonic character means that the Handpan has a musical scale with five degrees, that is, five notes.

The same is true for the Tongue Drum, which is a diatonic, heptatonic or pentatonic instrument, such as the very old Balafon.

Handpan and Tongue Drum also have the same component, metal, and the same shape, ovoid.

This saucer shape is a testament to their manufacturing process, which involves putting together two pieces of metal that are deep-drawn for Handpan and welded together for Tongue Drums.

Differences in the way of playing tongue drum and handpan

Tongue drums are instruments with metal tongues that are cut directly out of one of the steel plates of the instrument. The reeds are then numbered from 1 to 7, that is, from C to B, according to the notes they can produce.

The percussion is done either with the hands and fingers or with mallets.

In contrast, the handpan does not have reeds or any kind of cutouts. The sound it produces is based on the shape given to it by stamping.

A difference in size and weight

The Handpan is larger, but also lighter than the Tongue Drum. The reason for this is that the thickness of the steel is different. The tongue drum is made of thicker steel.

However, the price is out of proportion to its weight. Thus, a reed drum is much cheaper than a handpan. In fact, it is about ten times cheaper!


A different sound

 

The sound of the tongue drum is meditative. It has a deep, beguiling harmony. It tolerates slow rhythms well and has a longer resonance.

The Handpan can be played with more force and in a much faster rhythm. The sound of this instrument is more captivating than that of the tongue drum.


Disadvantages on the side of the handpan

 

The tongue drum is an instrument that cannot be detuned. Although the notes are finer and the instrument is heavier, it always retains its own iconic sound.

The handpan, on the other hand, is a much more delicate instrument that goes out of tune and therefore needs to be checked every one to six years, depending on how the musician plays.

Some handpans can rust if they are not made of stainless steel. Most importantly, they are sensitive to heat, even the sun in the summer.

In contrast, a tongue drum can withstand all temperatures, from the lowest sub-zero temperatures to the hottest.

Why? Because its inventor, Dennis Havlena, made this wonderful instrument from two gas cylinder necks welded together! In other words, the Tongue Drum is very sturdy from the start without sacrificing aesthetic beauty.


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