Selecting a Scale

It is a difficult and sometimes daunting task to decide on a scale given the diverse selection. There are literally hundreds of scales to choose from, let alone the subsequent variations there of.

For this reason, Celestial Sound has chosen a diverse range of some of the best and most popular scales to narrow it down and help simplify your choice. These can be found on the Standard Scales page with many links to videos and further information.

The most important thing in choosing the right scale is that you find the one that resonates with you the most, one that calls to you. This, in our experience, is far more important than selecting a scale that will have all the notes, or that will collaborate in the same scale as another instrument or another player etc. When you've found the right scale for you, it will be very hard to put the instrument down.

There are other factors to consider when selecting a scale, David Charrier from Master the Handpan has summarised it very well in this blog post, we recommend reading it HERE.

One of the best ways to select a scale is to try some out and feel into which one resonates with you. You may do this by getting involved with your local handpan community and attending any meet ups. There will invariably be a selection of different makes and scales there and you can ask the owners if you can try them. A good resource for this is PanOz Festival, Handpan in the Round and the Sydney Handpan Community.

Another more accessible way to research different scales is to watch as many videos as you can on YouTube. Using the common name variations of each scale, you can find an array of videos made by all sorts of people of these scales. This will give you a broader idea of what each scale has the potential to sound like, as each player will be able to bring something different out of the scale. For example if you're interested in the Cerridwen scale, you would search "D Celtic Minor Handpan" or "C# Amara Handpan" in YouTube.

 

The more you listen, the better you will train your ear to become familiar with what is calling to your heart. Eventually it will become obvious which scale resonates with you the most.

Remember, at Celestial Sound we are very passionate about sharing our knowledge and experience with our customers. So make sure to pick our brains while you wait on our waiting list, we may be able to help steer you in the right direction!

Unfortunately due to the sheer number of enquiries we get, we can only share scale advice to our customers. Therefore we require an initial deposit before scale discussion and advice can be provided.

Matching Scales

It is quite common for our customers to want to expand their handpan family by adding more to the collection. Therefore we get asked a lot about matching scales. It's a difficult question as there are countless possibilities and it ultimately comes down to the intentions of each individual and what they want from a matching instrument.

 

We've tried to highlight below some of the more common ways that you might go about matching a pair, but understand that with the vast array of scales out there, possibilities to match are in no way limited to these 3 categories. There may also be some cross over and variation within each category use this as a guide and feel free to consult with us while you wait on our waiting list.

  1. Relative Scales : This refers to a scale that is a relative mode or scale to the one you have, meaning they will share exactly all of the same 7 notes in the scale. Examples of this are written in the description of each of the Standard Scales on our website. This is best if you would like two people to jam together with the two instruments. For example the A minor is relative to the C major , D dorian , F lydian to name a few. Here's the break down:
    1. A Minor:    A B C D E F G A
    2. C Major:    C D E F G A B C
    3. D Dorian:  D E F G A B C D
    4. F Lydian:    F G A B C D E F
  2. Expanding Scales: This is when two pans don’t share all of the same notes, but do still share many of them. Each scale has notes that will help to expand and elaborate on the other scale. These are typically a little harder for two people to jam together with, and instead are best suited for individuals that would like to play with two pans at a time in front of them. A good example of this is when you can combine two scales to make many more scales.
  3. Chromatic Scales: This is when there are multiple instruments that are used to create a chromatic set, filling almost every single note on a Piano between multiple octaves. This is usually achieved with 3 instruments minimum, and can allow for around 25 to 30 unrepeated notes. These scales are not possible to jam together but could be used to expand each other as the second point above. This is best for professional musicians striving for the ultimate flexibility on the Handpan.

 

Common options for matching scales:

 

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