HAPI Drum Official Site HAPI Steel Tongue Drums

How is a HAPI Drum played?

We recommend playing the HAPI drum with the pads of your fingers. A wide range of sounds can be created with different techniques. Playing by hand connects you with the HAPI drum in the way that traditional drums are enjoyed. We also supply each HAPI Steel Tongue Drum with mallets designed to bring out the pure sound of each note. Our mallets eliminate “head slap” creating a very clear tone. The arrangement of the notes make going up and down the scale very easy. Also one hand can reach two or three notes simultaneously for chord playing. We have custom designed isolating rubber feet on the bottom of every drum. Set the drum on any surface and still get a great tone!

Can anyone play a HAPI Steel Tongue Drum?

Sure! Anyone who wants an easy to play intuitive percussion instrument can play a HAPI steel tongue drum. You don't need a musical background to enjoy one. The HAPI (Hand Activated Percussion Instrument) Steel Tongue Drum is ideal for jamming and playing percussive beats. The note layout of the HAPI steel tongue drum makes it easy to jump right into grooving rhythms. An intuitive arrangement to the notes makes it easy to explore new musical horizons. The strong meditative tones are calming and great for relaxing anytime. And because of its compact design you can take it outside to enjoy on a nature hike or sitting around the campfire in the evenings.

Our steel tongue drums can, of course, be used in any setting.  But, we have broken out some specific uses for them here:

Our Tini Drum is ideal for music development, hand-eye coordination, memory skills. Our Mini Drum is great for hiking, camping or taking to the beach. The Aura Drum is a perfect fit for music therapists, sound therapy, rehabilitation. The Bell is a good fit for your outdoor garden or for folks who love singing bowls. Our Slim Drum is amazing for yoga, relaxation, stress release. The Origin Drum is ideal for mindful meditation and sound bath settings. Our Omni Drum is great for focus, awareness and intention. Our Handpans are amazing for sound studios, recording artists, buskers, musicians. 

How is the tone created?

The unique tone of the HAPI drum is created by a tuned vibrating tongue of steel. The concept is similar to a wooden tongue drum. When a tongue is quickly and lightly struck with the finger or mallet it vibrates creating sound waves. By changing the shape and length of the tongue optimal vibration and perfect tone is achieved. By arranging the notes in our unique way each note when struck excites surrounding notes that are musically compatible with it. This adds to the harmonic spectrum of the tone. Rather than just one tone we can now create a spectrum of supporting sound for each note. The tone is similar to singing bowls or musical bells which create multiple harmonic overtones. The body of the drum acts as a resonating chamber adding depth to the note.

How is the HAPI Drum different from a Hank Drum?

Our HAPI Drums use tongues cut to different sizes to produce its tones. The steel is thicker at about 2mm. The original concept of using steel tongues came from Dennis Havlena who began cutting tongues into propane tanks in 2007. These types of drums are called Hank Drums, a play on words mixing Hang and Tank together. Starting with his concept, we began experimenting with different custom made musical steels and our own unique note layouts to build on Dennis' original idea. We have also created our own molded shapes to make our HAPI Steel Tongue Drum line of instruments.

How is the HAPI Drum different from a Hang?

Our original inspiration for the HAPI drum came from the Hang. The Hang (pronounced hong) was developed in 2000 in Berne, Switzerland by Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer of PANArt. The Hang is a hand played steel instrument that is typically used resting on the musicians lap. The Hang is made from two deep drawn nitrided solid steel sheets that are shaped and attached together. The Hang is hammered similar to a steelpan to create its perfect tonal fields. The Hang uses some of the same physical principles as a steelpan but with a nitrided surface. The steel is relatively thin at 1mm. The domes vibrate at different tones and harmonics depending on the size and shape that is hammered into the steel. The Hang usually has a total of 9 notes. An eight note pentatonic or hexatonic scale around the sides and a lower "ding" note in the middle. We also make handpans, more info is available here.


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Why is the HAPI Drum unique?

We have created some unique design parameters that make the best possible steel tongue percussion HAPI drum. Our Patented (D620,041S) note layout adds harmonic tones to each note when played. This creates a more complex and musical tone to each note. By placing low notes next to the appropriate higher notes we achieve multiple harmonics. Their vibrations create desirable overtones which compliment the timbre of the tone. We use a compact drum body that easily fits in your lap. We have tested the sound quality of different types of steel and use a unique mixture of alloying elements to achieve the best sound possible. We also use our own unique mold for shaping the steel into the HAPI drum.