Hand pan drums produce soothing, resonant tones and vibration. Their calming sounds promote relaxation, focus and mindfulness during meditation. Sound exists, flows and permeates our lives continually. These instruments are finely tuned to frequencies that balance the body's energy centres. It's not just about musical performance; it's about embracing the potent energies of sound and its potential to enhance our mental and physical wellbeing. As a form of sound therapy, hand pan drums can enhance the ambience for massages, spas and yoga.
Inspired by Trinidadian steel drums, hand pan drums originated in the Noughties in Switzerland. The circular instrument has a convex shape with carefully tuned, concave indentations, that create distinctive melodic notes. Imagine two steel pans fixed together that you hold in your lap – a hand pan drum gives its player an immediate connection to its resonances. Each hand pan drum is unique, making them valuable musical instruments and an investment piece.
Best hand pan drums at a glance
• Best hand pan drum in D minor: LOMUTY Hand Pan Drum – View on Amazon UK
• Best hand pan drum in 432Hz: Hand Pan Battiloro C# minor 432Hz – View on Etsy
• Best mid-range hand pan drum: NAHAIA 440Hz Hand Pan Drum – View on Amazon UK
Some people find themselves drawn to particular sound frequencies and scales. Musical instruments are tuned to 440Hz. It's known as "concert pitch" and allows for consistency in musical performance across different instruments and ensembles. In contrast, sound at 432Hz can have a relaxing or healing effect on some people. The Schumann Resonance or the Earth's heartbeat is a frequency that's closer to resonances in nature. You may choose hand pan drums tuned to this pitch; it's worth listening to 432Hz music on Youtube to see if the frequency induces a feeling of calm in you.
Hand pan drums offer a creative outlet for emotional expression and releasing pent-up emotions. The act of playing hand pan drums promotes physical relaxation and can be therapeutic for muscle tension. They are relatively easy to learn to play. You can join a group and enjoy the social connection of a like-minded community, or learn from online tutorials. Similarly, explore a whole array of drums, tuning forks, chimes and singing bowls that are more affordable and have healing benefits. Whether you're a beginner to hand pan drums, gongs or crystal singing bowls, or looking for a way to get involved in sound healing, cast your gaze over these beautiful vessels of music.
Best hand pan drums
Best hand pan drum in D minor
Find harmony and deeply restorative sound healing with the LOMUTY Hand Pan Drum. This 22-inch
- Hand-cut and hand-tuned
- Heavy duty steel alloy
- Healing sound
- Mixed reviews
Best hand pan drum in 432Hz
Feel rebalanced and discover inner peace with the Hand Pan Battiloro C# minor 432Hz. Handmade in
- High quality craftsmanship
- Tuned to nature's frequency
- There may be customs and import taxes
Best mid-range hand pan drum
Achieve healing and mindfulness with the NAHAIA 440Hz Hand Pan Drum, Made from high quality
- Range of styles and colours available
- Accessories included
- Play with versatility
- No reviews
Best hand pan drum with accessories
Enter into a calm transcendent state with the VEVOR 22" 10 Notes Hand Pan Drum. Create unique
- Comes with accessories
- Beautiful vibration
- No reviews
Best hand pan drum for beginners
Seeking realignment and good vibrations? The JAMITE Tongue Drum is the perfect place to start.
- Play this in a number of ways
- Lots of accessories
- Great for children too
- Doesn't specify the notes this instrument makes
Best premium hand pan drum
Built to last a lifetime, this Meinl Sonic Energy Hand Pan has been meticulously hand-crafted.
- Buy for life
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Use for musical performance or therapeutic play
- No reviews
Best black hand pan drum
Festivals, street performances or holistic gatherings can all feel the joy of a hand pan drum
- One review comments about rust spots on their instrument
Best hand pan drum for a unique sound
Create intricate rhythms, masterful melodies, enchanting chords and dual-voice harmonies with Sela
- Unique resonant sound
- High quality
- Beautifully crafted
- Best suited to an experienced musician or someone willing to invest the time to learn
Best hand pan drum cleaning kit
The Meinl Sonic Energy Stainless Steel Hand Pan Care Set is an all-in-one kit for hand pan
- Corrosion protection
- Cleaner removes any dirt and grease
- Formulated specifically for hand pan drums
- Small quantity
What is a hand pan drum?
Hand pan drums belong to the idiophone musical family and is a derivation of the steel pan. It's an instrument that produces sound through its own substance, such as vibrating when struck, without needing strings or a drum skin.
Hand pan drums consist of two thin yet durable metal bowls, generally nitrided or stainless steel that's been hammered or hydro-formed into shape. Thickness, slope, diameter and height of a hand pan drum influences the resonance, tone presence and tuning. Saraz Hand Pans advises, "the slope of the shell influences the number of 'shoulder tones'… most easily activated by striking the edge of the note." Therefore, a carefully crafted instrument will have nuance, expressive notes and richer vibration.
Hand pan drums create melodious and healing music. They have an especially warm and rich sound when played with hands and finger tips. A centre note (or ding) provides a grounding resonant vibration, surrounded by a scale of notes that encircle it. A bright, resonant sound comes from each note. Stainless steel further enhances the reverberation.
Whether your a beginner, novice or expert musician, hand pan drums are a compelling musical instrument. However, they are not cheap, therefore do consider how much you or a loved one is going to embrace learning it before buying.
Hand pan drums come in 9, 10 and 12 note models tuned to 440Hz or 432Hz. Additionally, Handpan drums are available in a range of scales. Saraz Hand Pans offers a comprehensive guide to hand pan scales with help to decide which musical scale is right for your needs.
How do I choose a hand pan drum?
Hand pan drums can be called Pantam drums and there are variations such as Hang drum, Spacedrum and Tongue drum. It pays to buy from a reputable brand as quality hand pan drums have precise tuning, even sound projection and are responsive to touch.
Next, what sound moves you? Listen to hand pan drum music, tuned to different notes and frequencies. Additionally, what is your intent with the instrument? Hand pans are compact and portable, allowing for easy transportation and outdoor performances. So, they're ideal for professional musicians who are in the spiritual community. Also, hand pans can be used in various musical genres, from world music to ambient and meditative styles. Therefore, hand pan drums are a wonderful therapeutic instrument for sound healing.
Decide what frequency you want. 432Hz is closer to the frequency of nature whilst 440Hz closer to the frequency of musical instruments. Also, choose the number of notes the hand pan can play: 9, 10 or 12.
A hand pan drum tuned to a major scale produces uplifting and motivating sounds. Played in an rising melody, that feeling of ascent, progress and positivity contributes to feeling enlivened. Major scales appear in many cultures' joyful and celebratory music. Have a listen to the sound of this D Major hand pan drum, that evokes the sound of Trinidadian steel pans.
In contrast, minor scales often sound more mysterious and meditative due to their different interval patterns, and create sounds that evoke introspection and suspense. For deeper emotional nuance, have a listen to this hand pan drum in C Minor. It's tacitly melancholy and meditative.
How do I play a hand pan drum?
Scales are built around a centre note. In music, this centre note serves as a point of stability and rest. In melodies or chords, returning to this centre note creates a satisfying and positive feeling. Tap the hand pan drum with both hands simultaneously to create haunting and nuanced two-tone harmonies.
By using your fingers to gently strike the tone fields, you control the strength of the melodic notes. Explore various techniques for different sounds. Create fascinating melodies that make the perfect accompaniment to yoga and meditation.
How do I maintain my hand pan drum?
Clean it after each use to remove grease and dirt, then enrich it with a polish. Hand pan drums made from titanium, nitrided steel and stainless steel are generally corrosion-resistant. Periodically check for the tuning and consult a professional if necessary. Store your hand pan in a padded case to protect it from damage. Also, keep the hand pan away from extreme temperatures, humidity and direct sunlight to prevent warping and rust.
Natalie Knowles is a Homes & Garden product writer for Spirit & Destiny, A Modern Kitchen, Yours Magazine, Take a Break Pets, and Modern Gardens. In her other life Natalie is a successful artist and illustrator.
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