What is a scale in music? It's a unique combination of notes. Referring to musical instruments, a scale is a range of notes that non-chromatic musical instruments (and these include handpans and tongue drums) have.
When we were toddlers, we learned the simplest scale, which is C major that includes the following notes: C D E F G A B. By changing the intervals and picking up different notes from different octaves, you get different types of musical scales like B minor, G Pygmy, G minor pentatonic and etc.
Why all the handpans/tongue drum have should be tuned in a particular scale? It's like the eye color – one specific characteristic that was given at your drum's birth. Once the drum is built, the scale cannot be changed. A particular combination of notes gives a specific mood or flavor to any music played on this particular handpan. So choosing the handpan scale is actually about choosing the mood, the feel of the music you'd like to get by playing your hand drum.
Best handpan scales
How to choose a handpan scale? There are certain categories and different types of scales. Music theory determines many of them, but here are a few you can find through the RAV Pan collection.
|RAV Pan Scale
|Happy, joyful, uplifting, triumphant, sonorous
|Melancholic, bittersweet, relaxing, calming
|B Celtic Minor, D Celtic Minor
|Exotic, ethnic, otherworldly, peculiar
|D Hijaz, F Pygmy
So what scale handpan should I choose?
The first (and easiest way) is just to rely on your ear. Listen to musicians playing different scales. You can find a sample of a melody recorded for each RAV Vast on the drum's page. There's also a vast collection of music videos on YouTube with the musicians performing different music with different RAV VAst scales.
Use the RAV Virtual Player to check the sound yourself (we recommend using headphones).
There's another way to choose your best handpan scale from all the abundance of various types of scales. Music theory is the clue. If you have some musical background, you know that the note intervals determine how harmonious the scale is. A greater number of half-steps makes the scale trickier to play. The best music scales for beginners are those that have the maximum possible number of harmonious note combinations. If you are at the beginning of your journey, these scales will be easier to manage as you will get a harmonious melody with pretty any note progression you choose.
One more option is to test out the scale with the RAV Vast first, get to know it, and then try to play the handpan. This will be the right way, especially for those who never played handpan before. Handpan and tongue drums are relative instruments, and the tongue drums are more manageable and easier to play.
If you never played any musical instrument before, we recommend starting with the RAV Vast, learn the basics, and the next move to learn to play the handpan. Some scales are presented both in RAV Vasts and RAV Pans, so the transition will be much easier for you.
Do you need help choosing a scale or accessories from all the items available for sale in our online store? Drop us a message, and we'll help you to decide on which one to buy. Ultimately, you might want one of each!