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Matching handpan tunings

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Which handpan tunings are easy to play together?

When it comes to purchasing a second handpan or when two people close to you want to buy two suitable instruments together, the question arises as to which handpan scales can be played together with a harmonious sound. We'll go into that in this post.

The options:

There are basically two ways to combine handpan tunings:

  1. For intuitive, improvisational playing, either the same or similar tuning or the complementary tuning, better known as the relative key, is suitable. The circle of fifths clearly shows which minor and major moods are parallel to each other. As a simple rule of thumb, the minor relative key is exactly 3 semitones lower than the associated major relative key, or vice versa, the major relative key is exactly 3 semitones higher.
    Circle of Fifths Parallel keys major and minor
    The combination of the same/similar tunings is very rewarding and makes playing together very easy, but it is also quite one-sided - since the same/similar sequence of notes is used twice.
    The interplay of parallel keys, on the other hand, is very interesting, as they create completely different tonal atmospheres and yet harmonize extremely well. They are ideally matched to each other due to the similar composition of notes.

  2. The second option for combining handpan tunings is to compose two (or more) scales that expand the tonal range. This gives you a much larger range of notes to play more complex pieces and sound sequences. This is especially ideal for composing and creating more versatile melodies together.
    This way of making music together requires a certain musical experience, so we recommend this option for more advanced players/musicians.

RECOMMENDATION: The expansion of the tonality makes intuitive and improvisational interaction more difficult, since the more different notes also result in more dissonant tone combinations. In order to 'play around' this, both players must be familiar with music. For beginners and free spirits, we recommend the first option when combining two handpans.

Classic handpan combinations

Here we show examples of suitable complementary moods for the intuitive and improvisational interplay of two different moods.
If you are interested in suitable tunings to expand the tonal spectrum or in tunings that are not listed here, please do not hesitate to contact our experienced Handpan.World team .

Parallel keys / complementary tunings:

  • D Minor Scales: Kurd or D Celtic Minor (Amara) or D Integral
    -> complementary to F Major : F Sabye (Ashakiran) or F Jibuk
  • C# Minor Scales: C# Kurd (Annaziska) and C# Celtic Minor (Amara)
    -> Complementary to E Major : E Sabye (Ashakiran) or E Jibuk
  • B Minor Scales: B Celtic Minor (Amara) or B Kurd
    -> Complementary to D Major : Sabye (Ashakiran) or
  • E Minor Scales: E Kurd or E Celtic Minor (Amara) or E Aeolian
    -> complementary to G# Major :

Minor is English for minor and Major is English for major .

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