Basics about Handpan Scales

The following article deals with the very basics of handpan scales, their differences and a little music theory. Maybe this basic information will be of little help in finding the best handpan scale for you.

When it comes to handpan scales, a very broad field of music theory and music systematics opens up, which is deliberately not explored in this article. Confusing fakts, like different scale names for one and the same scale will meet you anyway, as soon as you engage more intensively with this topic.

Keep in mind that any theoretical approach can not be more than an entry aid. In the end, choosing “your scale” will be very much about your own feeling and your personal music and sound preferences.


 

 

Major or Minor Scale – how does it feel ?

Major: uplifting, positive, triumphant, peaceful, cheerful
Minor: melancholic, hypnotizing, mysterious, introspective, meditative, suspenseful

What Is the Difference Between Major, Minor and Harmonic Minor?

The difference between major and minor chords and scales boils down to a difference of one essential note – the third.
The third is what gives major-sounding scales and chords their brighter, cheerier sound, and what gives minor scales and chords their darker, sadder sound.

The only difference between Minor and Harmonic Minor is in the seventh degree. In the natural minor scale, the seventh degree is minor, while in the harmonic minor
scale, the seventh degree is major.

Examples:

Major – cheerful, positive, uplifting

fe. D/ (F#, G), A, B, D, E, F#, G, B (C#, D) – plays well with B Minor and E Dorian

Mixolydian – happy and uplifting with a bit of motivating and jazzy mystery

fe. D/ (F#, G) A, C, D, E, F#, G, A (C, D) – plays well with G Major and E minor

Minor – mysterious, meditative, and compelling, this is one of my most popular scales

fe. D/ (G) A, C, D, E, F, G, A, (C, D) – plays well with F Major and G Dorian

The most popular Scales:

(Beginners)
AmaRa / Celtic Minor
AnnaZiska
Equinox
Kurd
Magic Voyage
Pygmy

(Advanced)
AkeBono
Hijaz
Mixolydian
Romanian
Ragadesh
Saladin

See here a listing of many Handpan Scales – many of them come with a sample:

https://sites.google.com/site/handpanscales