Invented in 2000, the “Hang,” is a percussion instrument that belongs to the family of headpans. Extremely rare and difficult to find, it’s no wonder that this instrument retails for insane amounts in the grey market.
Created by Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer, this unique instrument is made from two-half shells of deep drawn nitrided steel sheets glued together at the rim, leaving the inside hollow and giving it the unusual UFO shape.
The top of the instrument, “Ding” has a centre note hammered into it with seven or eight tone fields hammered around this centre. The bottom is called the “Gu,” and has a rolled hole in the centre along with a tuned note that can be created when the rim is struck.
A modern marvel, the Hang was successful in inspiring makers around the world to create a new family of instruments called the hand pans. So, how does the Hang sound? The Hang, although applying some of the basic principles of the steel pan, is modified in such a way that it acts like a Helmholtz Resonator, which results in the top “Ding” sounding like bells, a harp, or harmonically tuned steelpans. The bottom (Gu), has a round opening and produces a Helmholtz resonance with air that is there in the cavity, thus sounding like a Ghatam or an Udu.
The inventors revealed their motive for producing the “Hang” with its third iteration, called the “Internal Hang”.
Art for Art’s Sake
The inventors believe that the Hang is a personal instrument and is for someone who doesn’t apply their conditioned knowledge on it, but interacts with it on a personal note. Almost like forming a bond of creativity that makes you feel free.
In 2013, PANArt announced that they will no longer be producing the “Hang” as their tuners were now engaged in a new, upcoming instrument called the “Gubal”. So, if you were to buy the Hang now, it would be an expensive choice to make since it’s unique sound combined with limited pieces and crazy demand have appreciated its value many folds.
Current price for the Hang, which retailed at $400, should now be around $2600 in the market for used goods (six times retail, yes, you heard that right).