LUNA Scales - Why?

Newmoon - LUNA Scales, Information.
Drastic reduction and clearing of offered Scales!


In future the LUNA will be offered in 8 Scales only.

For all interested ones, the Scales list is ready now, the scales section will be updated next week.


Here, I want to share some thought/experience process behind the decision:


Why 8 Scales only ????????


This has several reasons.


First, I always had the feeling of a big confusion, when it comes to handpan scales. Thats also the feedback I got from costumers, who often had big problems to find and choose their scales. Many told me that I had to much of offering on the Scales-Section of my hompage, even though I did already a personal selection of about 40-Scales.


Also most people often where confused by the names, as handpan-scale names are mostly fantasy names wich do not occur in music theory and are mostly used without a certain system, sometimes also with different Notes, depending from maker to maker.

Third, the naming of handpan scales is quite liberal done.

For example, whats the difference between a „C-Amara“ and a „minor Celtic“? Well... nothing.
And the difference between those two and a „Magic Voyager“? Well...nothing either, except you leave out one tone, wich is the fourth.
But the simple leaving out of a tone, or shifting of the scales starting and end points does not make an entirely new thing of it.

The same goes for many many other Scales, like „Kurd“ „Integral“ „Enigma“ ...the list goes long...


So the main reason is to somewhat destillate all those hundreds of scales into their main musical roots,
scales wich are really different in their main-character.

The aim is to offer lesser, but more distinct scales, wich for the LUNA will be thoose 8 Scales.


Ok, but is this something new you invented ????????


No, its not.

Its an old shoe. Mostly what I offer now are the old greek modes, aeolian ( typical d-minor, „kurd“ „enigma“ etc. ) lydian, Ionian phrygian etc.
Because these are really distinct in their atmospheric expression and combination of intervals.


However there are also exception wich are not found in european musical modes, but in japanese/chinese ones like the „Ma Hô“ and the „In Me“ with its augmented fourth, wich could be considered as an augmented Dorian, used for example in the chinese Gu Zheng music, ( featured by the great 許嫚烜 )


So, no nothing really new.

These are old known musical Modes/Scales from ancient Asia and Europe.


Fine, but why not name the european just „Aeolian“ or „Lydian“ for example - why the japanese names ????????


First, because for many european modes there are japanese equivalents ( like „Phyrygian“ is the japanese Akebono )


Second: because asian japanese or chinese scales are never defined or bound to a tonic. And thats exactly what I offer with those 8 LUNA scales. They are not bound to a special tonic, costumers can chose a „Yu Mei“ from B2 up to G3, its all the same scale.

Third: asian Scales as well as LUNA Scales are tuned in just, pure intonation as it is derived from the natural overtonal series, so the interval-ratio for the major third for example is 5/4 or 9/5 for the major sixth, wich is the most natural tuning system and most perfect one in mathematical terms.
So it makes more sense to use the asian names wich implies the just intonation.


And last:

Most of my costumers are not musicians. They have never heard of harmonic music theory, intervals, or just intonation/equal temperament. Most of them cant even read notes.
And the ones who had musical background mostly come from percussion, wich are / sory for that / musictheoretical analphabetics too.

Those people do not orient themselfs on terms like „aeolian minor“ or „phrygian mode“ but on a desciptive association of the scale. For those people it is helpful if they have a meaning-name that can provide some associations to the scale. So the naming itself is somewhat a description of the LUNA Scale and provides some emotional information for those people without any music theoretical background.

I found that to be the best compromise between music theoretical correctness and costumer friendliness.


Last, but not least there is another special thing to the LUNA Scales wich is different to most scales, wich is the subdominand Ding.

The Ding in all my LUNA Scales is NEVER the Tonic, its the subdominant, ( or dominant ) below the tonic.


Why ????????


Because the LUNA is aimed to be a fusion of aesthetics and musical possibility. I described why I decided to build the LUNA only with central note and 8 tonefields. No mutants, no 9 or 11 noter, no bottom notes - because aesthetically the Handpan is at its very peak of elegance in that format for me. You cant add anything without taking some of its minimalistic design and elegance away. Thats not to say mutants and other stuff is bad, I did by myself, but its not what I want to develop further into.


Instead of adding more and new, I want to put my energy in seeing how far this simple design can be refined, polished, perfected so to speak.


Back to the subdominat Ding - if your tonic is on the first tonefield and not the Ding, the whole Handpan gets another layer of playing possibility, wich is very important if you are confined to a ding and 8 tonefields.


In some scales you also get an additional note thru the fifth of the ding, wich is not necessarily in the chorus anymore, thus providing you with the maximal possible musical expression on the most elegant and minimal design - wich is exactly the road of development I want for the LUNA.


It also shifts the focus from the Ding more to the chorus, wich I welcome since I feel the handpan in general is developing into a very percussive instrument, with bigger size, thicker material etc, and often very Ding-centric, percussive playing techniques, wich is all nice.

But its not mine and for the sake of diversity the LUNA wants to be a more melodic centric instrument.

If you made it down here I apologize... you are either interested in this, or you are very very bored to read such a long boring text :)


All the best,




The LUNA Scales are now online, zou can check them out here.


Thanks a lot to Nico Bachus from OWL-Pan and his great work with his Scales-Comparison list. It helped me a lot in creating the LUNA-Scales !


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