Handpan 101 – Scales, Rhythms, Chords, Tips and Tricks for Beginning Hang Drum Players


When you first get a handpan, there is so much to explore it can seem overwhelming. Our Handpan 101 video will introduce you to some fundamentals of handpan playing including playing with a metronome, polyrhythms, paradiddles and drum rudiments, learning the scale of your instrument, playing chords and more!

Handpans are resonant steel instruments that evolved out of the Trinidad Steel Pan. Originally made by just one company in Switzerland, there are now (at time of writing) over 100 handpan makers worldwide.

The instrument used in this video is a PanArt 2nd Generation D Hijaz:

Hijaz Scale tones: (1) 5 b7 1 b2 3 4 5
D Hijaz Scale on this instrument: (D) A C D Eb F# G A

Music theory is especially important for handpan players to develop the knowledge of how scales work, how to build chords and how to play with other musicians.

The Paradiddle is an essential rhythmic figure for hand percussion or any instrument that features the interplay of two rhythmic elements. The basic paradiddle pattern is:


This concept can be applied to linear instruments (those that play one note at a time) by simply alternating between two notes, with one note assigned as “left” and the other assigned as “right”.

The 40 Drum Rudiments (essential for any percussionist): http://vicfirth.com/40-essential-rudiments/


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