The Integral Hang 2009

Authors: Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer
© Copyright by the authors – All rights reserved
Published on June 1st, 2009
Languages: German and English
Zur deutschen Version dieses Dokuments

This statement was sent in the year 2009 to those who were invited to the Hangbauhaus to purchase an Integral Hang. It outlines the Hang maker’s point of view regarding the Hang in the year 2009.

Hang® by PANArt

For a year now we have been making the integral hang. And we intend to continue doing that for the following reasons: it is the quintessence of working with sound systems from cultures around the world for many years. Since the hang first appeared in the year 2000, more than 5000 hanghang have been created with different scales arranged around the central DING tone. A few of them touched human beings in a special way whereas others were not meant to be integrated into the complex order of the hang. We have, however, condensed those spheres to which hearing humans react with a particular well-being to a chorus – a resonance body into which one becomes immersed. This happens through a range of sounds and a form – one that integrates. Its wealth is revealed through free and intuitive playing with the hands. A spherical world is created from which the player emerges invigorated. He plays on the hang and it plays with him, ever changing, giving and taking, opening and closing, subsiding and elevating, soft and hard – primeval human gestures become music – music from the soul.

Since we hang-makers experience the nature of the hang as a whole, where individual parts are closely joined, the hang evolves into a sculpture whose internal and external beauty harmonize more and more. The hang is a receptacle with its own oscillation. We have included this in the resonance because the central aspect of our work is harmony and equilibrium – proportion. The hang has evolved into a listening device which can stimulate human beings in today’s increasingly loud world. His inner voice becomes audible, his stance in life can grow more confident. It is by no means a musical instrument with an instruction manual! You will find faith in your hands by yourself – through daily concentrated playing. Find a partner who will play with you – a human voice, an instrument, a voice from nature – what joy!

The integral hang is somewhat lonely on the world’s big stages – microphones cannot deal with the complex and dynamic radiance of the hang. Digital technology proves to be very fragmentary and the effect of the hang pales – the fatal consequence of an instrument whose strength lies in direct contact. This is true of other metal resonance bodies as well, such as steel bands, gongs, gamelan orchestras, bells; maybe even all musical instruments?

The acquisition of an integral hang requires careful consideration. Its great sensibility is a challenge for letting the hands speak intuitively and for developing their suppleness. It is by no means a drum – or a hang drum – as we have seen it described on the Internet; it cannot be classified or pigeonholed. After nine years news has reached us about instruments similar to the hang from other countries. We are not unhappy about this because discussions are now being launched regarding the quality aspects of those resonance bodies which only work if they are created with dedication.

As you might have already heard, hanghang are being sold at auctions for very high prices. We do not agree with this practice and would like to reach an agreement with you (see brochure, last page). Since we regard the hang as a gift from heaven, we can outline the agreement as follows: We will accompany your integral hang on its musical journey and you will abstain from bringing it on the lucrative market. The underlying factors leading to this agreement can be found in our experiences during the last 30 years with the development of the steel pan worldwide, in its country of origin, and especially in Switzerland. The hang-maker’s hands slacken if he yields to the pressures of this market-oriented situation. His creativity and his sensitivity to human musical desires are endangered by today’s profit-related society. With this agreement we want to establish a relationship of trust and respect – a culture that we are in desperate need of.

Hangbauhaus, May 2009
Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer, hang-makers