The Hang Lexicon
© Copyright by the author – All rights reserved
Last Update: August 29th, 2009
Original language: German – This English translation is not up to date. The original German version is currently updated and extended and will have to be newly translated to English later.
Zur deutschen Version dieses Dokuments
The Second Generation Hang has a coating made of brass. It was applied with a brass brush and annealed onto the outer surface in a kiln. This procedure was abandoned for the Integral Hang. Only the Ding dome of the Integral Hang has a brass coating. Another sign of Hanghang built starting in 2006 is the added brass ring around the seam between the upper and lower halves of the Hang.
The Nitriding process creates a micro thin layer that helps prevent oxidation (rust) of the steel. A thin layer of Biofa Hard Oil is also applied with a cloth as a final step in the creation of the Hang.
The following figure shows the development stages of the Hang from 2000 to 2010. Klick on the elements of the figure for more information. Three of these stages are demonstrated in a video.
The central domed note on top of the Hang. This is the lowest note on the instrument. It corresponds with the Helmholtz Resonance of the air inside the Hang. The Ding note is played by striking either the dome or the flattened area around the dome. The upper half shell of the Hang is also referred to as the ‘Ding side’.
The First Generation Hanghang had a Ding between Eb3 and Bb3 (for the early models usually A3 and G3, the Low Hang from 2005 mainly F3). With increasing experience Hang Makers were able to get the Ding note of the Hang lower and lower. Almost all of the Second Generation Hanghang have a D3 tuned Ding. While the First Generation Hanghang had a shiny polished Ding, the Second Generation Hanghang of 2006 and 2007 had a surface coating of annealed brass.
While the 2008 Integral Hang is tuned to D3 as was the Ding of the models from 2006 and 2007 it has a several significant alterations. There is a circular segmentation in the dome creating a “dome within a dome“. It also has a significant amount of brass brushed on, annealed, and then laquered creating a rougher surface than the Ding of the previous models. Also the flattened tone field around the Ding dome no longer has a distinct border, it fades gently into the transitionary curved shoulder of the Hang.
See Gudu Hang.
A small flared tube made from turned pear wood offered by PANArt. It can be placed in the Gu opening of First Generation or Second Generation Hanghang to lower the Helmholtz resonance a fifth by narrowing and extending the neck of the Gu.
One name often used to describe the Hanghang made prior to the end of 2005. It is based on statements made by the Hang Makers when they announced the evolution of the Hanghang in the spring of 2006 referring to them as the “New Generation” of the Hang. ( More…)
The round resonating opening in the middle of the lower half shell of the Hang, opposite the ‘Ding Side’. This ‘bottom’ of the Hang is also referred to as the ‘Gu Side’. The Gu opening combined with the air volume in the body of the Hang act as a Helmholtz resonator. Helmholtz Resonance can be generated by striking the Ding or by slapping the opening of the Gu directly with the flat of the hand.
In the First Generation the rim and inside neck of the Gu was polished, the Second Generation are not polished. The Integral Hang (2008) has a Gu side which has been shaped slightly towards an oval. Since 2007 the rim of the Gu hole (Gu-Ring) has been specifically tuned: Two close tones of F5 and F#5 open new possibilities and when played together make a vibratory ringing note.
This version of the Hang has a second opening (Du) on the bottom to the side of the center Gu. Udu like effects can be generated using them both. When the Du opening is not used it can be covered with an included flexible magnetic disc. The Gudu Hang was available on models made from 2004 through 2007.
The name of the instrument is based on the fact that it is played with the hands: Hang means ‘hand’ in the Bernese dialect. The term Hang is an international registered trade mark and property of PANArt Hangbau AG. It isn’t allowed to use this name for other musical instruments or services like arranging of events, publications et al. (see databases CTM-ONLINE, Trade mark No. 969295 or TESS, search for ‘Hang’).
This name was used in 2002 by the then North American distributors of the Hang for sales of the instruments. Since using “Hang” with another descriptive word gave significant advantages when using Internet search engines, this name was also widely disseminated on the Internet. The Hang Makers have never used this name because it does not accurately or fully describe the features and tonal possibilities of the Hang. They have requested not to use this term to describe the Hang.
This term is used by the Hang Makers as the plural form of Hang: one Hang, several Hanghang.
A wooden house on the bank of the Aare, which previously served as a workshop for PANArt. Today it serves as a presentation space for the finished Hanghang where those interested can choose their instrument in peace.
The phenomenon of air resonance in a cavity. An example of Helmholtz resonance is the sound created when one blows across the top of an empty bottle. The interior of the Hang in conjunction with the Gu hole creates a Helmholtz resonator. The frequency with which the air in this system oscillates is based on both the air volume inside the Hang and by diameter and length of the neck of Gu. If the Gu is unobstructed it resonates at F2 with the Ding if it is set to an F3. This gives the Hang a deep fundamental and a strong harmonic resonance to the whole instrument. Even when a Hang has a Ding lower than F3 the bass tone can be brought into resonance with the Ding. If the Hang is set horizontally on the lap the bass can be adjusted by reducing the angle of the legs as until it is exactly one octave below the Ding. With the Hang held in the vertical position the resonant relationship can be achieved by covering the Gu slightly with one hand. The Helmholtz resonance can be set into motion through a damped blow to the Ding, by slapping the Gu with the flat of the hand or by striking the Hang at the ‘shoulder’ between the flat of the Ding Tone Field and the Tone Fields in the Tone Circle with the heel of hand.
See Low Voice.
In February of 2008 PANArt announced a further development in their instrument journey: The Integral Hang. The surface of the new instruments is darker and rougher than the Second Generation. Even the design of the Ding has been changed. While the overall shape of the upper side is similar to the 2007 Hang, the bottom and Gu-opening of the Integral Hang has been slightly ovaled. The positioning of the diagonal Tone Fields in the Tone Circle and the brass ring at the seams connecting the two half shells remains consistent from the 2007 model Hanghang. With the Integral Hang, the Hang Makers appear to have reached a natural conclusion to the reduction of Sound Models over the years in their attempts at finding the best overall sound quality of the instrument as well as the best interplay of the tone fields. The Integral Hang has only one Sound Model: D3 Ding with seven notes A3, Bb3, C4, D4, E4, F4, and A4 surrounding it in the Tone Circle. No other Hang Sound Models are currently being made.
The English translation of this entry will be published soon.
In the first four years, PANArt offered Hanghang Sound Models with eight notes in Tone Circle. In 2005 they introduced Sound Models with only seven notes in the Tone Circle. The Sound Models with eight notes were called High Voice, while those with seven notes were called Low Voice. The Second Generation Hanghang (2006 and 2007) were primarily Low Voice Hanghang. The Integral Hang (2008) is solely low voiced with 7 notes in the Tone Circle.
The Hang is well able to keep its notes in tune and does not need regular tuning. The Second Generation instruments and the Integral Hang are able to remain in tune even better than older Hanghang. With that being said, if a Hang falls on the ground or struck (intentionally or inadvertently) with too much force the Tone fields can get out of tune. A restoration of the notes is possible, unless the damage is too severe. The tuning is done not only at the fundamental, but also overtones of the affected notes are brought back on the right frequencies. The out of tune Hang should be brought to the Hangbauhaus or sent to PANArt by mail. The notes are brought back with the use of a small hammer, striking both outside and from inside through the Gu opening. For buyers who bought their Hang second hand (for example at Ebay) it is important to know that PANArt has stated that they will not tune or repair Hanghang that were bought for a higher price than the original sales price. There isn’t any service for such instruments provided by PANArt. (More…)
In each Tone Field (and in the Ding) along with the fundamental frequency are first and second overtones: the octave and the compound fifth (a fifth above the octave). Unlike the Steel Pan, which are tuned to the octave, the Tone fields of the Hang have additional and particularly pronounced compound fifths. Tone fields have the octave stressed when striking the short side, while on the long side the compound fifth is generated. When listening to (and generating) the overtones, you can not only hear them as part of note being played, but can tune into the multiple levels of overtone music interactions that float around the main notes being played. (More…)
This is the company of the Hang Makers Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer. It was initially PANArt Steelpan-Manufaktur AG. At the end of 2003 a few years after the Hang Makers started devoting all of their time to the production and development of specialized Hanghang they renamed themselves PANArt Hangbau AG. According to Swiss trade register the purpose of the enterprise is: “the development, manufacture and sales of musical instruments, accessories and sound sculptures, and other activities to promote new forms of music.” The term “AG” (incorporated) should not be a sign that PANArt is a big company. The workshop in which the Hanghang are made consists of only the two Hang Makers.
Starting in 2001 PANArt built an international dealer network, which by 2005 had several shops in Switzerland and one distributor in each of the following areas: Australia, Austria, Canada, England, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain and the United States. Because they were no longer capable of addressing the increased demand PANArt stopped sales through the dealer network in early 2006. Since then, Hanghang only are available directly from PANArt in Bern.
In 2006 and 2007 buyers needed to obtain an appointment at the Hangbauhaus in Bern to purchase a Hang. Since the announcement of the single model Integral Hang in February 2008 shipping became an option again. Beginning with the sale of the Free Integral Hang in spring 2010, the practice of shipping instruments to customers was discontinued. There is still the requirement to write to PANArt and often a significant wait to obtain a purchase opportunity as the demand remains high. (More…)
See Sound Models.
A term used to refer to Hanghang built from 2006 through 2007. It is based on statements by the Hang Makers in announcements regarding the evolution of the Hang in the spring of 2006. They mentioned a “new generation” of the Hang had been made. In these instruments, the two half-shells sport a coating of annealed brass. Also at the seam where the two shells meet there is a brass ring. Furthermore the Hang Makers changed the basic approach to Sound Models with the Second Generation Hanghang. Most Hanghang of the new generation are Low Voice Hanghang with 7 tones in the Tone Circle. The Tone Fields in the circle of the instruments from 2007 were shifted to a 45° angle to the radius of the Hang. The successor of the Second Generation is the Integral Hang. (More…)
Every Hang has an individual serial number. First generation Hanghang had a small white piece of paper pasted inside the Hang which was visible through the Gu. On it was also written the name of the Sound Model and the signature of Sabina Schärer or Felix Rohner. The numbers went up to about 4300.
Second Generation Hanghang had the serial number engraved into the inside edge of the hole in the Gu side. They had a prefix of N. and went from N.0001 to N.0826. The Integral Hang shifted all the information that was on the Hang to the Gu side outside edge. There the PANArt Logo, the signatures of both the makers, date of finalization, and the restarted serial number are written. The serial numbers began again with 1 and now have an H in front of the number (H45 for example).
The First Generation Hang had a sticker with a handwritten Serial Number and Sound Model name along with a signature of one of the Hang Makers. The Second Generation instruments have a signature engraved on the edge of the bottom of the Hang (“Rohner Schärer” or “Schärer Rohner”). The Integral Hang now has the production date and serial number engraved in the same location. The spelling of signatures has been changed (“Sabina Schärer” and “F. Rohner”).
Because the Tone Fields on the Hang are limited in number, the Hang Makers felt the need to leave behind the traditional Steel Pan chromatic scales and to find new paths forward. Initially they chose an ethnomusicological approach utilizing many different scales from different cultures for the sound of the Hanghang. As the musical possibilities of Hanghang are not only based on the scale used, they chose to refer to the Hang in terms of “Sound Models”. A Sound Model is defined by the frequency of the Ding, the number of Tone Fields in Tone Circle and scale used.
In the first few years they offered 30 different Sound Models. All had 8 notes in the Tone Circle. A3 Dings and G3 Dings numbered fourteen Sound Models each, and there were two with F3 Dings. In 2004 they offered 45 Sound Models and modified some of the prior scales. The sound of the Dings shifted toward the lower tones (1 x Bb3, 13 x A3, 19 x G3, 12 x F3).
In 2005 the Sound Models offered with the Low Hang were completely changed. Only 14 sound models were newly made all with a F3-Ding in both a High Voice Hang with 8 notes, and Low Voice Hang with 7 notes in the Tone Circle. The older models and custom models were still available on request.
In 2006 the Hang Makers chose a whole new conceptual approach for the Second Generation of the Hanghang. They began with the Helmholtz resonance of the body which can be brought to a responsive D2 with the proper adjustment of the legs or with the hands. The Ding was set to D3. A3 was the lowest note in the Tone Circle and the octaves of these two notes, D4 and A4 were in the circle as well. Almost all Second Generation Hanghang are built with this basic structure. The other notes are chosen by the tuner based on each instrument according to artistic discretion. Second Generation models are predominantly configured with seven notes in the tone circle.
As time passed PANArt found that there were certain Sound Models that had better overall resonance so they continued to reduce their number in 2007. The Integral Hang (2008) now only is one model and one set of notes: D3 Ding with a Tone Circle consisting of A3, Bb3, C4, D4, E4, F4 and A4. There are currently no other models being offered. (More…)
Direct sunlight on the Hang from a cloudless sky, especially on or near the Ding, can quickly heat the Steel to high temperatures. This leads to a temporary de-tuning and dampening of the Hang’s tones, which resolve after the Hang cools.
Around the central Ding tone there is a Tone Circle of eight (High Voice) or seven (Low Voice) Tone Fields. Among the instruments of the First Generation (2001 to 2005) and the first Hanghang of the Second Generation in 2006 there were radially oriented Tone Fields. From 2007 the Tone Fields were shifted to a 45° angle to the radius of the Hang. The changed orientation improves the radiation of the tones and gives a clearer sound. The illustrations show the sequence of tones from the lowest (No.1) to the highest tone (No. 7 or No. 8).
With both the Steel Pan and the Hang, the term ‘Tuning’ has multiple implications. This can refer to ‘tuning’ of an instrument or of a tone field that is no longer in tune. But, more often, it is a term for the entire process of creating the instrument and how the hammers set the notes into the steel. Detailed information about the tuning of the Hang is in History, Developement and Tuning of the HANG by Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer.
In spring 2002, as the Hang Makers began to focus more completely on development and manufacture of the Hang, they closed down their prior homepage www.panart.ch as well as the information on the PANG Steel Pan development and instruments. Instead, a new website was created and maintained – www.hang.ch. It had information about the Hang as an instrument, listed the Sound Models, as well as the distributors in various countries. In winter 2005/2006 along with the development of the Second Generation Hang, and the termination of the dealer network PANArt decided that the Hang was no longer be officially offered via the internet. All the information except the contact details of the PANArt was removed from the site. In summer 2006 www.hang.ch was completely shut down.