About the LUNA - Handpan

 

 

 

The LUNA is a high-quality musical instrument from the Handpan family.
These are ideophonic sound sculptures made of steel.


They consist of two lenticular bowls which enclose a cavity and have a central  tonefield, the so-called "Ding", which is surrounded by a chorus of other tonefields.


What makes the Handpan so special is the fact that each tone field always produces a triad of sound - namely from the fundamental, the respective octave and a fifth octave in addition.


The construction of these instruments comprises many variables, such as the shape of the tone fields, convex, concave forms, tensile and compressive stresses, the material used, the number of tone fields, the shape of the bowls, the tuning of the overtones.

All this has a great influence on the overall sound of the instrument, and can usually be achieved by various means, which offer a wide scope for the personal handwriting of the craftsman.

 

 

 

FULLMOON & NEWMOON

The two LUNA models

 


The LUNA is available in two different basic models.

Both model types are offered in the tunings developed for them and adapted to their geometry.

The smaller "NEWMOON" models with a diameter of 52cm correspond to the usual Handpan size, but with a height of 22cm, have a much flatter geometry typical of LUNA.

The "NEWMOON" models, with tunings ranging from C3 to D3 in the Ding and from F3 to C5 in the Chorus, cover the classical range of the most common and widely known Handpan tunings.

They tend to be much brighter and higher in pitch than their sister models.

The much larger "FULLMOON" models, with a diameter of 60cm and a height of about 26cm, are therefore much larger than most common Handpan isntruments.

This also allows them to be tuned in much deeper moods.

With a range from the deep F2 or G2 as a thing, and a C3 or D3 as the first tone field up to the A4, these models have an extraordinary depth and fullness and can be seen as bass-models.

 

 

 

 What are the general special features of the LUNA ?

 

 

 

The LUNA is consciously created as a fine, "feminine" representative of the Handpan family.

 

In addition to the sound quality and high stability of the individual tone fields,
her focus, unlike most other Handpans, is not on percussion and isolation of the individual tone fields,
but clearly on playing sensitivity, long-lasting sound with great richness of overtones, and a high overall aesthetic.

To achieve this, she differs from most other Handpans in the following points:

 

 

1. No series production

 

 

Each LUNA is individually handmade in my manufactory in the Allgäu. I do not work in series, but always dedicate myself to one instrument - from the shell blank to the completion  -  in order to avoid a routinelike "matter of course" and a certain "impersonality".

 

 

2. The choice of material

 

 

Most handpans today are made of nitrided steel.

This is a so-called "cold forming steel", such as the most commonly used DC04 - a steel used in the automotive industry for bodywork production.

In a very energy-intensive and environmentally damaging process, this steel is fumigated with ammonia for up to 100 hours in a vacuum atmosphere and thus forms so-called nitride needles within a diffusion layer.

The process has been known and used in industry for a long time, but at the turn of the millennium it was first used and patented for the construction of sound sculptures by two Swiss, who do not want to be mentioned here.

The question of whether the patent is legally valid, however, is being challenged, and is currently the subject of several legal disputes.

However, based on the attitude to respect the wish of the patent applicants - regardless of the legal situation -
after intensive testing of various materials,  a special stainless steel alloy proved to be the much more suitable material for LUNA.

This stainless steel alloy is also responsible for the richness of overtones and the special sound character of LUNA.

 

 

 3. Specially developed shell blanks

 

 

The rapid rise of the Handpan and the high demand of the market lead most manufacturers to build their instruments on already developed and prefabricated shell blanks, for example Shellopan from Strasbourg, AYASA or Baur & Brown.

Although most of these blanks are of good quality, the LUNA is built on specially developed own shell blanks with a much flatter geometry than standard.

On the one hand, this allows a better mutual coordination of tuning technique and material, on the other hand it opens up a much larger space for the personal expressiveness of the craft, and ultimately also a wider spectrum of different hand pan sounds.

 

 

4. Soft tuningstyle - "boarderless tuning"

 

 

In contrast to the currently widespread tuning with sharp tone field boundaries and high isolation of the individual tone fields,
the LUNA is softly tuned, which means there are no visible clear boundaries of the tone fields recognizable.

This type of tuning is much more time-consuming, since tone fields are increasingly to be considered as an overall systhem and have to be treated as such in the tuning process. A linear processing of "steps 1 - 2 & 3" is no longer possible in this non-linear spectrum. Instead to navigate in it experience is neccesary.

At the same time, however, the gentle transitions also block and break fewer vibrations, allowing the entire instrument to enter more into a "conversation with itself", and the reverberation as well as the lightness of the overtones to be struck in a targeted manner, can be significantly increased.

In addition, the result is an aesthetically pleasing overall surface with smooth transitions instead of hard boundaries.

 

 

4. Laquering - Urushi, an ancient asian technique.

 

 

The handling of Urushi, the remarkable sap of the Japanese lacquer tree, is based on a tradition up to 3000 years old, and its extent and depth can only be indicated here. Additional information can be found here.

The use of this lacquer, which is not comparable with synthetic lacquers and is much more complicated to process due to its chemical complexity, not only gives the LUNA its special optical beauty.

The organic, warm, smooth surface also differs significantly from bare steel in terms of feel.


The coating also has an influence, albeit a very slight one, on the overall sound of LUNA, and rounds it off.

 

 

 5. LUNA tunings and pure tuning according to the natural overtone series.

 

 

The LUNA is built exclusively in tunings specially developed for her, according to the natural overtone series.

 

This pure tuning avoids unclean beatings, as they become apparent in the common equal temperament, especially with thirds, and is the most natural and clean tuning that is made possible by the non-diatonic character of the LUNA tunings.

 

The 8 LUNA tunings cover Asian tunings as well as the usual European modes and, above all, the subdominant thing tuning allows the greatest possible variety of playing with a high degree of elegance.

 

Detailed information on the LUNA tunings.

 

 

The path of art & nature - the philosophy behind LUNA

 

 

The LUNA is handmade in my modest Allgäu manufactory in small quantities with love by me.

 

My goal is to keep the art as close as possible to nature - an art form that emphasizes and integrates the beauty of nature.

 

For this purpose I do not use mechanical processing where it is not absolutely necessary and try to keep the tools and production palette as simple as possible.

Simple must not be confused with "easy", because this simplicity often requires a higher degree of experience and personal development.

What on the one hand can be seen as a lack of technical development can also be understood from this point of view as a dedication to the spirit of material and art, and creates a connection between material and art, subject and object in the creative process as well as in the routine of"grinding and filing" of one's own ability.

 

LUNA arises from this effort to maintain my contact with what touches me,

the love for art, the beauty of nature and the mystical wonder of the inexplicable.