The Hang Drum Phenomenon

The extraordinary story of a bizarre new percussion instrument
Programme Details

The extraordinary story of a bizarre new percussion instrument: The Hang. It’s a tuned metal pan that looks like a cross between a wok and a flying saucer. Virtuoso percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie explores the story of its global success.

Sometimes referred to as a Hang Drum, the Hang is not really a drum at all, but a tuned metal pan that produces a mellifluous, ethereal tone with echoes of the Trinidadian steel pan or Indian ghatam.  Some argue that it is not even a musical instrument, but more a work of art, a sound sculpture.

It has become a cult instrument across the globe and demand far outstrips supply. Prospective owners must go in person – by invitation only – to the PANArt workshop in Berne to get their Hang. Applications must be made by writing a letter, not an email.  Second hand Hangs can fetch over $10,000 on eBay. Some Hang videos have over 11 million views from a vast online community of enthusiasts. What makes the Hang so special? What’s the appeal of making and playing new analogue instruments in this digital age of Pro Tools and plug-ins?

14th July 2015 at 11.30am, BBC Radio 4.

Production Credits

Producer Tom Woolfenden
Executive Producer Jo Coombs
Presenter Evelyn Glennie

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With thanks to Greg Smith at the BBC for the photo above.

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