Is it hard to learn to play the handpan?
The placement of tone fields may be difficult to understand at first, however the handpan is an entirely intuitive instrument and once you start playing it will become easier to free your mind and play without guidance.
How to play a handpan?
There are a few factors which affect the quality of sound – placement and technique. The handpan is hollowed and has an opening at the bottom. To achieve an expansive and rich sound, the opening should remain open. The handpan can be held in your lap or set apon a soft blanket or pillow. Solid and hard surfaces will hinder the sound making it sound flat. Depending on the sound you wish to create, you can either hit the toned areas with your fingers or use the custom-made sticks. They are made from pine wood, which grow locally here in Latvia, and are wrapped in wool. The sticks make it possible to produce a lighter and richer sound compared to the sound created only by hands.
The top half of the handpan has eight notes arranged in a circle that make progressions from highest to lowest. This circular orientation allows the player to move easily from one note to the other by appropriately alternating the movement of the right and left hand.
The bottom half of the Hang has a round opening know as Gu. The size of this opening is altered when the instrument is made and is responsible for creating different tones. Striking on the rim of the Hang towards the Gu side can sustain single high notes while sliding a stick over the surface produces a shaker like sound. It can also be made to sound like a singing bowl by striking the surface with a bow.
The instruments are crafted by an artist who lives on the coastline of the Baltic sea. He has devoted his life to living simply and beautifully and has built himself a small wooden house in the forest.
How can handpans be used in daily life?
The handpan is a very valuable instrument to have at home, especially for families with kids. It can be played when putting kids to bed or as a background sound for calming an active household. People of all ages can play the instrument without past experience or training.
The handpan is a perfect option for professional music and film projects as a background sound. The sound handpans produce is most suitable for creating a peaceful atmosphere. The sound is earthly and can represent celestial sounds.
The handpan is often used in sound therapy and can be combined with other traditional instruments such as koshi bells, kalimba, tibetan singing bowls, gongs etc. In practices the instrument is oftentimes placed on the person’s body. Also in sauna therapies the handpan is used for healing purposes.
Healing potential of the handpan
Handpans have been carefully designed as a multi-functional tool. For some the shape may remind a pebble, rounded from the waves and the constant movement of the sea, for others – an inner place of peace to re-visit and dwell in. There are a number of notes on the surface of the instrument allowing a wide range of sounds. The sound itself is very warm and soft comparing to other percussion instruments. The handpan is often used during meditations, prayer and ceremony as it acquires healing potential for the mind and the body.
The handpan is tool for healing and relaxing the body and mind. It is made from a resonant material – steel – which vibrates to create the initial sound, which has the potential of making one more aware of the power and capability of sound. It’s the harmonies and frequencies that are so profoundly healing. Owning a handpan allows one to explore the vast world of sound and frequency and build a personal relationship with the instrument.
Where to get handpan?
Do you know where to buy handpan if you ever need one? These are relatively newer instruments and may seem a bit expensive. However, the long-term healing and meditation potential from the Zvongo is amazing. Visit our store to check out the currently available products.