The PANArt Free Integral Hang

At the time of writing (2012), if you’ve decided to write a letter to PANArt in order to try and ‘score’ a Hang.  Should you find yourself receiving an invitation to make the trip to Bern, the Hang that you’ll be going to collect will be of the type that is known as the ‘Free Integral Hang’ (the only model that PANArt currently produce).

What is the Free Integral Hang?

No Hang has ever divided the HandPan community like the Free Integral Hang has. Surrounded by confusion, and ‘mystique’, as it is. But for those who have been dreaming of playing a Hang, as seen on YouTube, there are a few things that you really ought to know.

* The Free Integral Hang is a very different beast from the earlier generation Hanghang, the likes of which you may have seen folk such as Manu Delago, and Dante Bucci, playing on YouTube. If the Hang could ever have been described as being simply just a beautiful musical instrument (putting all 'magickal' talk aside), that is certainly no longer the case. Because if any Hang were ever deserving of the moniker of ‘Sound Sculpture’ that PANArt would have their creation known by, the Free Integral Hang is 'it'.

* The Free Integral Hang is not tuned using any standard system of tuning. And it is not tuned using tuning software, or devices. The Free Integral Hang is tuned using the ‘evolved ear of the Hang makers’, or as the name suggests, it is ‘free tuned’, meaning that the Free Integral Hang is tuned organically with itself -as per the tastes of either Felix, or Sabina. And as such, each FIH is very much an independant entity. Unique within itself, if not in form, then in its ‘voice’.

* As stated above, each FIH is a unique entity, tuned only to itself. A musical sculpture in its truest sense. However, if you’ve been drooling over the Hang as played on YouTube, and are looking to play the Hang as a musical instrument. A Free Integral Hang, is probably not what you’ve been searching for. FIH, being organically tuned, are not only (to a more or lesser degree) independantly tuned even from other FIH (meaning that even the voices of two individual FIH may not gel), but not being tuned to any standard system of tuning, the FIH is almost definetly not going to sound ‘good’ played with other instruments, and arguably, as a ‘musical instrument’ (in the standard sense), the FIH can even sound a little 'out-of tune’, even when played on their own. With the Free Integral Hang, instead, generally being thought of as a more meditative ‘device’ than earlier Hang, or simply, as a resonant metal sculpture, that is best played alone - in a quiet space. Where with time, and patience (and possibly persistence) the ‘player’ can learn to release the FIH’s less immediately obvious ‘inner beauty’.
However, whether this ‘free tuning’, or the FIH as a whole, is an evolutionary step in the ‘right’ direction, when compared to older generation Hanghang, is a matter of personal opinion (and taste), with the FIH having both its critics, and its supporters (personally - I wouldn't swap my first gen, for a FIH). But whichever side of the fence you stand, it is important that you’re aware of exactly what the Free Integral Hang ‘is’, and of what it has to offer, before you go writing that letter to PANArt (for multiple reasons - see below).  Because, as one joke goes (to paraphrase a Star Wars quote), "These may not be the droids that you're looking for...".

Further Reading:
Hang and Handpan Comparison - A YouTube Video
The Free Tuning of the Free Integral Hang - A discussion on HangForum

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