The modern steel pan instruments known as handpans are growing in popularity due to their beautiful harmonic resonance and wide range of applications as hand percussion instruments. In this video/article we compare a Hang (Invented in 2001 by PanArt, the originators of the handpan) and a RAV Drum (invented in 2013).
The Handpan or Hang Drum
The Handpan or “hang” is a convex steel drum played with the hands and tuned with multiple notes. Each handpan is tuned to a particular scale such as major, natural minor, harmonic minor, hijaz, mixolydian, etc. Sonically the handpan is an overtone-emitting instrument that has the capacity to create many layers of sound and ethereal effects and works very well with drone instruments. Originally called the hang (pronounced “hah-ng”) the handpan was invented in 2001 by a little company in Switzerland. The instrument has fantastic resonance, overtones, and subtle variations in sounds beyond the tonal field base keys and can be played upside like an African Udu. Handpans are rare instruments with very few makers and even fewer makers that make quality instruments so it is a very expensive instrument and difficult to obtain one.
The Hang scale used in this demo is tuned to the D Hijaz scale
Purchase a handpan here: https://www.didgeproject.com/product/c-dominant-handpan-hardshell-carrying-case/
The RAV Drum
RAV Drum (aka RAV Vast) is a revolutionary new instrument that fuses the concepts behind handpans (hang drums) and tongue drums (traditionally made of wood). Perfectly cut steel tongues vibrate harmoniously together to create an ethereal sound perfect for meditation, relaxation, and other mystical music experiences. RAV was invented in 2013 in Russia. Conceptually this instrument uses cut keys as opposed to the hammer tuned Hang drum, which is not cut or welded in anyway. The RAV has a deep resonance and profound reverb effects where the sound lasts for a long time while the Hang/handpan) sound goes for a much shorter duration. This allows for a lot more space between key strokes in the RAV because the sound carries so long without losing the rhythm, which can make for more experimental playing in some respects than the Hang/handpan. The fullness of the sound and the duration of each key stroke makes the instrument very meditative to play because it renders itself to slow playing but of course can also be played very quickly and rhythmically. The backside of the RAV is not as accessible or resonant as a handpan but can still be played rhythmically. The price of a RAV is 1/3 the cost of a Hang and is also generally easier to play than the Hang for most people. It is also a much more durable and sturdy instrument. The handpan can be knocked out of tune with too hard of a hit and over time may need to get tuned up regardless while the Rav does not and is almost impossible to knock out of tune.
The RAV Drum scale used in this demo is tuned to the G Minor Pentatonic scale
RAV Drums, Handpans, and many other instruments can be purchased through the Didge Project Store.
Which instrument do you prefer, the RAV or the handpan, and why? Post your response in the comments section below.