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Kurdish mood, an overview

Kurd Stimmung, eine Übersicht

1. Origin and music theory of the Kurd Handpan tuning:

The name "Kurd" probably comes from the "Arabic-Turkish Maqam Kurd" even though the scale itself corresponds to a pure minor scale. In the early days of the handpan scene, a few handpan makers specialized in the scale and, in collaboration with artists such as Hang Massive, Daniel Waples, and David Swarup, made it one of the most well-known handpan scales. Added to this was the influence of the then predominant integral Hang in D, which embodied a hexatonic variation of the minor scale with the integral and favored its development.

2. Music theory:

The Kurd tuning is based on the Phrygian scale , which is characterized by a semitone step between the first and second degrees. This characteristic step gives the tuning its mystical and melancholic sound .

Additionally, Kurd tuning contains elements of the Aeolian (natural minor) scale . The low note ("ding") is a fifth below the first degree, which is a characteristic of the Aeolian scale. This modality (the use of different modes) contributes to the versatility of Kurd tuning.

3. Features:

Sound character:

The Kurd mood is characterized by its mystical, melancholic and at the same time earthy sound . It is ideal for meditation, relaxation and spherical music .

By emphasizing the higher tones, the Kurd tuning can also be used to create cheerful and bright melodies .

4. Ways to play:

The Kurd tuning offers a variety of playing options and is suitable for a wide range of musical styles .

It is often used in meditation, ambient, folk, rock, world music and jazz . The ability to switch between minor and Phrygian sound quality opens up interesting creative options for musicians.


The Kurd tuning is a popular choice for handpan players of all experience levels due to its simplicity, versatility and unique sound .

Additional information:

  • Pitches: The Kurd tuning is typically tuned in D minor , but there are variations in other pitches as well.
Number of tones: Most Kurd handpans have 9 or 10 tones , but there are also models with more or fewer tones.

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