When PANArt retired the Hang back in 2013, it felt like a huge blow. Many people around at the time were only just beginning to discover the instrument, and then, all of sudden, it was seemingly gone.
As it turns out though, PANArt’s announced retirement of the Hang hasn’t been quite the catastrophe that it felt to be at the time. Because for a company that stopped making Hang, PANArt continue to produce a whole lot of instruments, that are very "Hang-like" (with recent additions even partially adopting its name).
The Hang Bal
All this week we’ve been considering instruments for possible inclusion in our own imagined Handpan-centric-orchestra. But when it comes to PANArt, they have always very much had their own orchestra in mind - the orchestra of Pang. And the recently announced Hang Bal, is the latest addition to that family.
With no more than a passing glance at the Hang Bal, you’d likely find it difficult to find much to separate this newer PANArt-produced instrument from its older sibling. However, despite its visual similarities, there are strong differences between the original Hang, and its newer incarnation.
The Hang Bal features a neck strap, and is designed to be played in a standing position - or while “dancing”, which makes for an interesting concept. But even placing that to the side, the Hang Bal is tuned in a fashion more complimentary to another Hang successor, the Gubal. And other more recent Pang instruments. Essentially taking the Hang design (with minor variations - such as its protruding Gubal-esque bottom), and bringing it back into line with the concept of the Pang orchestra.
And while as with other more recent PANArt instruments, here at HPM, we've not been as instantly enamoured with the Hang Bal, as we were on first discovering the original Hang itself, upon watching the following video from PANArt showing the dance of the Hang Bal in action, and considering the possibilities of the “collective groove” - it’s difficult not to find a certain charm in, and of the idea, and the instrument itself...
Find more information on the Hang Bal over at PANArt's website: HERE