Radio

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

More on “The Hang Drum Phenomenon” on the BBC

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

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