Popular scales and playing methods of Handpan (For beginners)

For novice friends, beginners are generally confused by the numerous modes of Handpan, and D minor (D kurd) is generally recommended, but the reasons are often not explained in detail. As a music teacher of PuresMusic, let me talk about my own experience over the past few years, hoping to help beginners.

Friendly reminder: reading this article requires basic knowledge of music theory. If you do not know what the major, minor, A4, and C5 mentioned in the article are, it is recommended to first understand the names of the twenty-four major and minor tones.

From the invention of Handpan to the present, Hundreds of tones have appeared in the research and development process of the producer. However, only a few dozen of them can be widely used and accepted by players. You might ask, why are there so many tones? A general musical instrument may only have a few tones (C and G, etc.), Like many other musical instruments, the Handpan is not able to achieve the full range like a piano because of its limited range. Handpan is like many other instruments, because of the limited range, it is impossible to achieve a full range like a piano, plus the production materials and size limitation issues, There will be a problem with one tone. For example, the most common size (about 55cm in diameter) problem sound is in the range from bB4 to B4. The general reason is that this sound overlaps with the inherent timbre of the material itself, which makes tuning more difficult.

so according to the selection and arrangement of scales, countless tones are born, some of which are church tones, some are music modes of various nationalities around the world, and some are created by Handpan producers themselves. However, a variety of tones can be classified into some categories, and in the end, it will be found that many modes are actually similar, and the playing methods are also the same. In this topic, the tones of the Handpan are divided into two categories: conventional (based on the development and change of the twenty-four major and minor scales) and unconventional (similar to the Middle Eastern tone, with strong ethnic and regional customs).

Let's first look at the most common D Kurd (D Kurd Classic Handpan drum For Beginner), which is a natural scale arrangement based on D minor, from A3 to A4 (Ding is D3), this range is the best range of handpan timbre performance and resonance, higher than A4 the sound will be thin, sharp, and lack layers. The lower tone than A3 is too low, it doesn't sound ethereal, and the sound range is too large. It is usually put on the Gu side.

D Kurd scale arrangement is one of the most common patterns. Starting from the lowest tone, the "Z" shape rises, and the chords are all on the same side. It is convenient for the performance of double tones and chords.It is currently the most reasonable arrangement of Handpan. This mode is the only mode in the third generation of hang. It is the most used mode in the Handpan world, with the most abundant songs and the most teaching, so it is generally recommended for beginners to buy it for easy learning.
Other common minors are #C minor (New York subway), G, E minor (generally used for small size Handpan), these tones are the same because of the scale arrangement, all D Kurd songs can be played. but the overall pitch may be a little higher or a little lower, and the whole is a semitone higher.

D sabye is a more popular mode in the past few years. It is a tone based on d major, which is slightly melancholy different from d minor. It is very bright, and it is also a mode that many Handpan lovers love. After careful study, we will find that since the scale arrangement of D minor and F major is the same, if D Krud that with C5 is converted to F major, all songs of sabye D can be played (Overall will be much higher), It's just that the left and right hands are completely opposite in the scale arrangement. Similarly, D major can also be converted to B minor to play D minor if you have enough bass. There are also many similar arrangements of tones, such as various amara..

Other tones, such as the Middle Eastern tone, are liked by many people and have a particularly distinctive style. They sound like Arabic and Egyptian tones, but they have obvious shortcomings and poor versatility. Basically, They have only one tone, which is prone to aesthetic fatigue. There is also the recently popular F pygmy, which is a pentatonic type, with a non-natural scale arrangement, a large range span, and the chord arrangement is not on the same side. It is very suitable for improvisation, but it is not recommended for beginners to buy.

To sum up, the first Handpan for beginners, I still recommend d kurd, but it is best to use 10-tone (with C5), and buy 12-tone if conditional (with D5, you also want to play it completely). Compatible with all songs from sabye and amara.
Some friends want to use Handpan to play popular songs (or classical anime), because of the problem of sound, one Handpan will definitely lack one sound, and the range is not enough. Generally, it needs more than two Handpan to play completely.

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