Choose your handpan scale in just 3 easy steps

Learn in this guide what different handpan scales are available and how to choose the scale for your first handpan.

Or browse our selection of beautiful handpanswith different scales in the handpan shop! On the Handpan-Portal you will also find an extensive guide to buying a handpan.

Table of contents:

Brief info: What is a handpan scale?

The following three terms are synonymous:

  • handpan scale
  • Handpan musical scale
  • handpan tuning

A handpan is not a chromatic instrument. Chromatic instruments are instruments in which the next note is one half-tone step above the previous one. This is the case, for example, with a piano (all black and white keys).

A handpan is a diatonic instrument. This means that not all notes can be played on one handpan. A handpan is tuned to a specific scale.

On a handpan there are usually 8-9 tones (notes or tonefields) from a certain scale.

Due to the infinite variety of scales and the notes taken from them, there are hundreds of different handpan scales and each has its own sound world.

For example:

  1. The C major scale contains the following notes:
    C, D, E, F, G, A, H, C
  2. For example, a handpan with a C major scale can only contain the following notes:
    C – C, D, E, F, G, H, C, D
  3. Now again the C major scale (bold letter means that the note is on the handpan.)
    C, D, E, F, G, A, H, C
  4. Finding: The A is contained in the C major scale, but not on the handpan.
Handpan-Tonleiter-Skala-Stimmung-waehlen
Handpans mit verschiedenen Skalen
How do I choose the

1. Get to know different scales

The different handpan scales can be roughly divided into three categories. This is very helpful for the beginning.

The three categories of handpan scales:

  • Minor
    Sounds sad, melancholic
  • Major
    Sounds cheerful, happy
  • “Exotic”
    Sounds Asian, to Middle East

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1.1 Video research ​

To get to know the different sound worlds and handpan scales,you should do an extensive video research.

In the video of the week series you will find many great videos incl. background information on getting to know the handpan world.

Here you can find more handpan videos of the week.

Additionally, search on Youtube for different handpan scales and train your hearing. You will gradually learn which sound world you like and which scale you like to listen to.

Tip: Write down the names of the scales you like.

Advice: with headphones

Watch videos of the highest quality and with headphones. This is the only way to compare the sound with reality.

1.2 Popular handpan scales

Minor

Handpans with a minor mood sound mysterious. They are sometimes perceived as sad, but they are much more than that. Melodies in minor can feel driving and exciting and express intense emotions.

Minor tunings are the most popular handpan scales,especially handpans in D Minor / Kurd and handpans in Celtic Minor / Amara.

Major

Handpans with a major mood sound cheerful and happy. They are positive and relaxing. This makes them well suited for meditation and music therapy.

Typical major scales are SaBye and Aegean.

Exotic scales

Exotic handpan scales differ in sound from Western music. They are characterized by their oriental sound, which is often perceived as Indian, Chinese or Arabic. They can be in both major and minor.

Many people are attracted to exotic scales. It should be noted, however, that in the long term they can limit the diversity of the playing. The melodies composed with them sound quickly simple and all the same for the Western taste.

A typical exotic handpan scale is Hijaz.

When choosing the scale, note that everything is subjective. Depending on how a scale is played and depending on the emotional situation when playing, each instrument can evoke a variety of feelings.

2. Do you play alone or together

If you’re going to play your handpan with other musicians, you’ll have to make sure that your handpan’s scale harmonizes with your ensemble. Maybe you are already familiar with the musical scales and know what you want to play with your friends.

If not, the following diagram shows the scales most commonly used in Western music.

We recommend a D minor handpanif you want to play together with others.

2.1 The frequency: 440Hz vs. 432Hz

At this point we do not want to go into detail about the discussion “440Hz or 432Hz“.

For information:

Most handpans are tuned in 440Hz. If you want to buy a handpan in 432Hz, you need to know that you can’t play a 432Hz instrument with a 440Hz instrument.

2.2 Our recommendation on the choice of scale

Don’t select your handpan until you’re sureyou’ve found the right handpan scale. Hopefully it will accompany you for a long time.

If you want to play music together with others, pay attention to a suitable scale and choose a handpan in 440Hz.

If you are unsure about choosing the scale, this is completely understandable.

You can rent a handpanfrom some dealers ! We also offer this service in our Handpan shop.

3. The number of notes

Handpans can differ in the number of tuned notes.

Normally handpans have 7 to 9 notes in the choir and a notes in the middle (Ding).

The notation is as follows:

  • 7+1: This handpan has 7 notes in the choir and a Ding.
  • 8+1: This handpan has 8 notes in the choir and a Ding.
  • 9+1: This handpan has 9 notes in the choir and a Ding.

The notes are arranged on a handpan likes this.

Arrangement of the notes on a handpan

3.1 Why is the number of notes important?

The number of notes can affect the quality of a handpan.

A high amount of notes can have the following influences:

  • The tuning of the handpan can be worse.
  • The dynamics (volume) of the individual notes differ greatly.
  • There is unwanted cross-talk.
  • The timbre of the individual notes differs greatly.

In the article “The 7 characteristics of good handpans” you will find more information.

3.2 Our recommendation on the number of notes

The more notes a handpan has, the higher the risks in terms of quality. But there is also more diversity in the composition.

The fewer notes a handpan has, the higher the quality of a handpan. However, the variety in playing is also limited.

We therefore recommend a handpan with 8+1 or 9+1 notes for the beginning.

Checklist for choosing the handpan scale

This checklist will help you find the right handpan scale.

  • Get an overview of the different sound worlds: minor, major and exotic scales
  • Research by watching many videos of different handpans with different scales and slowly find out what flatters your ear.
  • Consider whether you play alone or if you want to fit into an ensemble with your handpan.
  • Determine how many notes your handpan should have. For the beginning we recommend 8+1 or 9+1 notes.

Häufig gestellte Fragen

Hier werden all deine Fragen beantwortet

Achtung, hier ist Vorsicht geboten. Aktuell gibt es kaum Angebote mit guten Handpans auf eBay, eBay Kleinanzeigen bzw. Amazon. Hier tummeln sich vorrangig minderwertige Handpans mit schlechten Klangeigenschaften.

Weitere Infos findest du im Handpan kaufen-Ratgeber vom Handpan-Portal.

Der Preis für eine gute Handpan liegt zwischen 1.400 € bis über 3.000 €. Bei einer Handpan, die wesentlich günstiger ist, leidet oft die Qualität. Bei Handpans, die günstiger sind, sinkt leider auch entsprechend die Qualität. Wir raten von besonders billigen Handpans ab.

Nein, wir versenden die Handpans ohne Versandkosten.

Die meisten Handpans in unserem Shop sind auf Lager und können direkt versendet werden. Sollte das nicht der Fall sein, beträgt die Wartezeit maximal 2-4 Wochen.

Es gibt viele Merkmale, anhand derer man die Qualität einer Handpan beurteilen kann. Auf dem Handpan-Portal findest du eine Artikel zu den 7 Merkmalen von guten Handpans.

Mittlerweile gibt es viele Handpan Hersteller*innen und man kann auch ohne Wartezeit eine gute Handpan kaufen.

Weitere Infos findest du im Handpan kaufen-Ratgeber vom Handpan-Portal.

Handpan spielen ist im Vergleich zu anderen Instrumenten sehr leicht zu erlernen. Auf einer Handpan stehen nur bestimmte Töne einer Tonleiter zur VerfĂĽgung. Diese Töne passen gut zueinander. Daher ist es fast nicht möglich “falsch” zu spielen.

Somit eignen sich Handpans wunderbar fĂĽr den Einstieg ins Musizieren.

Die Töne, die auf einer Handpan eingestimmt sind, nennt man Skala. Sie entstammen einer Tonleiter (Englisch: scale).

Erfahre mehr zur Auswahl der richtigen Handpan-Skala im Artikel Welche Handpan-Tonleiter passt zu dir?.

Ja, da musst du dir keine Sorgen machen! Deine Handpan wird in Deutschland mit DHL versendet und ist versichert bis 2.500€. Die Handpan wird in einem speziellen Karton mit sehr guter Polsterung sicher an Dich verschickt. Du erhälst dann auch die DHL Sendungsverfolgungsnummer.

Ja, bei uns kannst du auch Handpans mieten. Eine Handpan zu mieten ist für diejenigen interessant, die noch nicht ganz genau wissen, welche Handpan-Skala sie auswählen möchten. Durch die Miete kannst du die Handpan kennenlernen und sie zum Beispiel mit zu einem Workshop nehmen und danach kaufen.

Wir versuchen alle Wünsche unserer Kunden zu erfüllen. Dazu gehören auch individuell angefertigte Handpans mit den jeweils gewünschten Tönen. Schreib uns am besten eine E-Mail mit deinen Vorstellung.

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