Players commonly use the terms hang drum, handpan, or pantam to describe the Saraz and similar instruments.Many builders of these unique instruments use multiple terms to describe their work,whether they create instruments with tuned membranes or cut tongues.
At Saraz we choose to call our instruments hand pans instead of hang drums or pantams. Our reasoning can be explained by sharing a short history of hand pan terminology.
Early on, the Hand Pan Drum could be bought through distributors around the world. However, once the Hang gained in popularity, it became increasingly difficult to purchase. Buyers were required to travel to Bern Switzerland to purchase the PANart Hang directly from the builders. With limited supply, other people began exploring this new chapter of tuned steel and creating their own singing steel instruments.
One of the next builders to emerge after PANArt was Pantheon Steel. Pantheon Steel’s tuner, Kyle Cox, coined the name handpan around 2007 to describe a type of steel pan that is played with the hands.
It is worth mentioning that the term handpan has not been officially solidified either. Is it a handpan or a hand pan? While most people use the term as one word, not everyone does. The topic has come up in discussion between builders more than once. Ultimately, in the evolution of this young art form, it is up to each builder and player to use these terms as they wish.