The Hang (or commonly known ‘handpan’) is a musical instrument in the idiophone class created by Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer in Bern, Switzerland.The instrument is constructed from two half-shells of deep drawn, nitrided steel sheet glued together at the rim leaving the inside hollow and creating a distinct ‘UFO shape’. The top half (called the “Ding”) has a center ‘note’ hammered into it and seven or eight ‘tone fields’ hammered around the center. The bottom half of the drum (or “Gu”) is a plain surface that has a rolled hole in the center with a tuned note that can be created when the rim is struck. The Hang uses some of the same basic physical principles as a steelpan, but modified in such a way as to act as a Helmholtz resonator. The creation of the Hang was the result of many years of research on the steelpan and other instruments. The inventors of the Hang have continued to refine the shape and materials and have produced several variations over the years.
15 years later a guy named Guy Jackson improved on the Hang invention and created the Lumen. Jackson was frustrated due in his pursuit to obtain a handpan, so Instead of resigning himself to a waiting list, he set out to create something new. Development started in December 2013 and has been refined over the last few years.
We developed a technology with higher rigidity, better geometry and better control of the sound for European ears. We’ve worked hard for 25 years and now we’ve translated the steel drum into our culture. The Hang is a wonderful global instrument but it’s Swiss and the Swiss will play it the best, I’m sure.
The Lumen is a new electronic percussion instrument in the form of a handpan, which provides the unique playing experience of its acoustic inspiration, with the added benefits that electronics bring. It features built-in amplified speakers, an advanced on-board audio processor and full velocity sensitivity. Original acoustic handpans are made of steel and notoriously difficult to tune, which make them extremely rare and expensive. The Lumen provides an alternative which is attractive to a broader audience, from casual players to professional musicians.