Today I received an email from PanArt, the makers of the hang drum, regarding the procedure to obtain one. This was in answer to a previous email I made a fairly long time ago. Basically you have to make an appointment, go to Switzerland, and have a hang specially designed for you. They will be selling a series in April, and another series sometime this summer.
Here is the English version of the letter in its entirety. Note that they only have a limited number, and that you have to successfully arrange an appointment and plan to stay for a day. You have to come alone due to space limitations. They only serve one customer at a time. It reminds me of a Haj or Pilgrimage, but having heard one of these instruments I think it is worth it.
For those committed enough, good luck!
Letter from Hangbauhaus
Bern, End of March, 2007
From Sabina Schärer and Felix Rohner, Hangmakers
We thank you for your interest in our instrument and for your patience.
In our Hanghaus lie the fruits of our winter’s work, and they are
waiting to meet their new owners.
There are very, very many who have written us. Heartfelt letters have
reached us from all parts of the world. We especially thank those, who
along with their compliments have also asked us to proceed with this
gift with great care.
This we will do.
Please read the following lines through slowly, and try to understand
in which sense and spirit we are thinking of passing on the instruments
we have made.
A Short History of the Development of the Hang.
The new instrument known as the Hang was born in January of the year
2000 in Hanghaus in Bern.
Responding to the impulse of a ghatam player we formed a great sphere
out of a couple of raw forms for Steelpans that were lying around the
workshop, which had in them a number of concave tone fields. At the
time, no one recognized what this was to mean, and no one could play
However, this gave us, the Hangmakers, a unique possibility to make
further progress in the art of tuning metal. Our understanding of the
physics of various musical instruments of the world now flowed into
this new thing. A new musical dimension was now opened for human hands,
and this new thing was named the Hang, which signifies hand in the
dialect of Bern.
In the years that followed we tuned these “resonance bodies” with all
sorts of scales, eavesdropping on the particularities of the scales of
the world: Arabic, Persian, Indian, Chinese. The journey went clear
around the world, always keeping in mind the tuning of the new
instruments. We sent these instruments to all continents and received
music in return. It was a productive time!
It appeared more and more that this instrument was not just a
percussion instrument, but something that raised new questions
regarding the very nature of music. Hang players reported amazing
experiences with the instrument, for themselves and also for their
Now we are proceeding to make the Hang even closer to people: The sound
is becoming softer, deeper, and clearer. We found the courage to leave
behind the world of scales.
In the spring of 2006 we presented a new generation of Hanghang
(Hanghang is the plural form of Hang), which pleased people right from
the start. Each instrument was unique in sound and tuning, and received
a soft upper surface of annealed brass, with a ring of brass around the
circumference, covering the formerly sharp rim.
Because the worldwide demand for ever more instruments could not be
met, we decided to end all distribution through music shops. Interested
people came in the summer and fall of 2006 to Bern, where they could
find their instrument at their ease – or, to phrase it differently,
where their Hang could find them.
Spring of 2007.
The Hanghang that came out of this winter look like those of last year.
Yet, when seen up close, you will notice that the placement of the tone
fields has changed. This innovation has led to a clearer sound that
radiates outwards with more strength.
The harmonic fifths combine and produce a charming overtone music,
which, in a manner of speaking, appears in the acoustical space above
the playing. While with the Trinidadian Steel Pan the octave of the
fundamental is the most powerful harmonic, with the Hang we give the
fifth more power, with the dome shape of the tone fields. Pay attention
to this, next time you hear a Hang. The allure of Hang playing does not
lie in virtuosity, but in playing intuitively, in such a way as to
allow space for these sounds.
Seven or eight harmonically tuned tone fields are arranged around the
central tone, the DING. With all Hanghang the DING is a D3 (Re3). The
DING resonates together with the GU resonance of D2 (Re2) when you play
with the instrument in your lap. This is the ground resonance of the
air which streams in and out through the GU, when it is activated by
tapping the DING or the shoulder of the DING. The throat-shaped GU has
its own high resonance (D5, Re5), aligned with the DING side. In the
tone circles of all the new Hanghang you will find the fifth, A3, plus
D4 and A4.
The remaining tones are tuned by the Hangmakers in artistic freedom.
For example, here is just one possibility:D3 (central note); tone
In all cases, the fundamental aspect of the tuning is D, its fifth, and
its octave. In this harmonic cathedral, infinite dynamic musical
possibilities are opened up for Hang players. The gentlest impulse from
the hands is amplified by the tension in the lens-shaped resonance body
of the instrument. The result can be a music that goes right under the
How the instruments will find their players:
An appointment will be necessary to purchase a Hang. There will be a
limited number of Hanghang made available during the month of April,
and again for one month only, later in the summer (dates to be
announced). Please do not just show up at the door.There will only be
one Hang made available per person.
Please come alone, as we will not have the facilities to receive
Payment is made in full on the day of purchase.
We do not ship orders.
What to do next:
In the event that you are interested in acquiring a Hang, please send
us an e-mail. Please include your telephone number in all e-mail
In our reply we will send you information on the price of the Hang, its
protective shells, bags, boxes, and how you can make an appointment to
We will not be in a position to respond to calls and faxes and e-mails
before the first of April. You will not receive confirmation of an
appointment before this date. Please do not come to visit if you have
not received this confirmation.
Once you have an appointment, indulge yourself with a train trip!
Hanghaus lies but a few minutes’ walk from the station. If you have
made an appointment, we can offer you a free night in our guest rooms.
Ron Kravitz and David Kaetz will be here in April to receive you. Both
are musicians, and Hang players right from the beginnings. Between them
our colleagues speak English, French and German, and we Hangmakers can
also speak with you in Spanish and Italian.
We thank you for your attention and send musical greetings from
Sabina Schärer and Felix Rohner, Hangmakers
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