How to Play a Steel Tongue Drum

Play a Steel Tongue Drum

Do you want to learn more about your favorite “little” musical instrument? This article will be exciting, read on!

The steel tongue drum is a musical steel instrument that produces melodic sound. It can also be referred to as the hang, handpan or the tank drum, so whenever you hear people talking about the hang drum don’t be confused; they are also talking about the steel tongue drum.

Brief history

Before the invention of the steel tongue drum, there have already been other drums such as Tambiro invented by Felle Vega and the whale drum created by Jim Doble.

However, in the year 2007, Dennis Havlena who is of the Czech Republic was inspired by Felle Vega’s invention; the physical properties of the Tambiro and the melodic tone of the Hang inspired him to create the steel tongue drum. That is why the name of the hank drum comes from the word hank and tank.

Furthermore, to show his generosity, Dennis Havlena shared the prototype of his invention to everyone which paved the way for many drum makers to create their steel tongue drum. Unfortunately, some of the drum makers are not crediting Dennis Havelena as the original owner.

The evolution of the steel tongue drum

The original design of the steel tongue drum was simply a large version of the hank drum which was created to mimic the alluring sound of the hang. However, due to constant refining and improving the invention, the steel tongue drum has become portable, lustrous and easier to play.

The steel tongue drum is not restricted to one musical scale; it can be chromatic, pentatonic or diatonic. Although, the pentatonic scales are commonly used, but due to the flexibility of this invention, you can tune the pentatonic scales to the chromatic and the diatonic scale.

Do you need any special talent to play the steel tongue drum?

One of the great things about this invention is, it does not require any particular skill to play it; anybody can play the steel tongue drum.

How to play the steel tongue drum

You can play the steel tongue drum using your hands or mallets. However, if you want the sound to be sonorous, you need to play it with the mallets or sticks.

The musical scales of the steel tongue drum have been carefully chosen to ensure all notes complement each other. You can’t go wrong with a steel tongue drum; it gives room for creativity and builds up your confidence. No wonder a steel tongue drum is an excellent tool for therapy and education especially with children.