When a Spacedrum, Isn’t a Spacedrum

With Handpan virtuoso Sam Maher’s New York subway video going crazy-viral at time of posting, as we often do, we’re seeing a number of people advising others via Facebook comments and the like, as to what the instrument in question actually is. With one answer popping up frequently being that the instrument that Sam is playing, is a “Spacedrum”.

The naming of these steel-UFO-shaped-instruments over the years has at times been a fairly confusing matter.  And a matter of significant contention.  Particularly with regards to the moniker “Hang drum”, which arguably still remains the most commonly used name for these instruments outside of the core-community that surround them.  Despite the protests of the original makers PANArt, that Hang, are not a "drum".

The more generic term “Handpan”, as coined by one of the earliest Hang-inspired makers, Pantheon Steel, is that most widely used by those more familiar with the instrument-type.  Though other names such as “Pantam”, and “Disco Armonico” also have their proponents.

Among those a little less familiar with the instrument type though, a new name is spreading fast, and that is the name of “Spacedrum”.  This almost certainly has much to do with the heartbeat-like regularity with which Yuki Koshimoto’s video (below) goes viral over at Facebook, and other Social-Media platforms (this remix is also very cool if you haven’t yet seen it).  But also quite possibly it has something to do with the UFO-shape of the Hang, and Handpan.  Making Spacedrum a relatively easy name to remember off-the-cuff...

What is a Spacedrum?

Spacedrum are a specific brand of Handpan, made in France.  And Yuki Koshimoto plays a 13-note chromatic Handpan made by these particular makers, who go by the name Metal Sounds.  So that while we actually quite like the name Spacedrum ourselves here at HPM - there is some danger in using it in a general sense.  If only to those considering a Handpan purchase, who could, if not careful, find themselves dropping cash on something that isn’t as it might seem (such as this Bali-made instrument being advertised as being a “Spacedrum” over at eBay at time of posting).

*...and if you were wondering what make of Handpan Sam Maher is playing in the video mentioned at the beginning of this post, it's actually an instrument made by U.S. makers, TerraTonz.


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