Hang Drum and Handpan Comparison: Exploring the Many Scales and Makers

In the world of melodic percussion instruments, the Hang drum and the Handpan stand out as unique and mesmerizing creations. These instruments produce enchanting, ethereal sounds that have captured the hearts of musicians and enthusiasts alike. In this blog post, we will delve into the world of Hang drums and Handpans, comparing their differences, exploring the various scales they come in, and highlighting some of the makers who craft these captivating instruments.

Hang Drum vs. Handpan: A Brief Comparison

Before we dive into the scales and makers, let's briefly differentiate between the Hang drum and the Handpan:

  • Hang Drum: The Hang drum, originally created by PANArt in Switzerland, is characterized by its distinctive UFO-like shape with a central dome and eight to nine tone fields on the top surface. Its unique design produces warm and resonant tones. The term "Hang" means "hand" in the Bernese German dialect, emphasizing its playability by hand.

  • Handpan: The Handpan is a broader term used to describe a family of instruments inspired by the Hang drum. While the Hang drum is a specific instrument created by PANArt, Handpans encompass a variety of similar instruments made by different manufacturers worldwide. They come in various shapes and sizes, offering a range of scales and tones.

Exploring Different Scales

One of the most intriguing aspects of both the Hang drum and Handpans is the variety of scales available. Each scale has its own unique sound and emotional resonance. Here are some of the popular scales you might encounter:

  1. C Major: Known for its bright and uplifting sound, the C Major scale is often associated with feelings of joy and optimism. It's a great choice for playing cheerful melodies.

  2. D Minor: The D Minor scale carries a more melancholic and contemplative tone. It's often used for creating introspective and emotive music.

  3. Akebono: Akebono is a Japanese-inspired scale with an exotic and haunting quality. It's perfect for producing music with an Eastern flavor.

  4. Integral: The Integral scale is a versatile and well-balanced option, known for its harmonious and balanced sound. It's a favorite among many Handpan players.

  5. Pygmy: The Pygmy scale has a mysterious and mystical vibe. It's excellent for creating atmospheric and ambient music.

  6. Hungarian Minor: This scale has a rich and passionate quality, making it suitable for expressing intense emotions in your music.

Exploring Different Makers

The world of Handpans is rich with talented makers who craft these instruments with passion and precision. Each maker brings their unique style and craftsmanship to the creation process. Here are a few notable Handpan makers:

  1. Saraz: Saraz Handpans are known for their exceptional build quality and resonant sound. They offer a wide range of scales and have a strong reputation in the Handpan community.

  2. Pantheon Steel: Pantheon Steel is one of the pioneers in Handpan manufacturing. They are known for their Halo Handpans, which are celebrated for their craftsmanship and sound quality.

  3. Aciel Handpan: Aciel Handpans are crafted in France and are highly regarded for their warm and expressive tones. They offer a variety of scales to suit different musical preferences.

  4. Ayasa: Ayasa Handpans are known for their balanced sound and beautiful craftsmanship. They are a popular choice among Handpan enthusiasts worldwide.


The world of Hang drums and Handpans is a harmonious blend of craftsmanship, artistry, and musical exploration. Whether you're drawn to the unique sound of a specific scale or fascinated by the craftsmanship of a particular maker, these instruments offer a rich and immersive musical experience. As you embark on your journey with Hang drums and Handpans, you'll discover a world of melodic possibilities waiting to be explored, creating beautiful music that resonates with the soul.

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