April 4, 2009


I'm actually not referring to the usual frying and other kind of pan, but rather the steel drum otherwise known as the steel pan. It's an instrument that was created in the Caribbean in the 1930's on the island country  of Trinidad & Tobago. 

The steel drum is a descendant of the hand drum and is essentially a large oil drum container that has been dented to produce a specific tone. Actually it's now very common for many steel drums to make sounds that correspond to standard musical notes. Most of the time they are printed on the portion of the drum that will produce that particular note as you can see below. More advance players don't need the notes printed on their drum. 


There are also different types of pans like the lead tenor, double tenor, bass, etc. with each having its own tone and purpose in a large steel drum group. 

Steel pan music is now very common all over the Caribbean, and many islands have steel pan competitions included in their carnivals. Steel drums have a uniquely Caribbean flavor. 

Why am I writing about this? Stay tuned.  

1 comment:

Mrs. Andi said...

I adore the steel drums, it is so invocative of a certain feeling & emotion of the islands! When I was a kid, we had a neighbor down the street who would pull out a whole set on the weekends & play, it was so much fun!