April 22, 2013

Virtual Hang

Virtual Hang is a Web Audio experiment created with HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. It uses the Web Audio API to recreate a Hang, a steel hand pan instrument. The Hang is an amazing musical instrument developed by Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer in Bern, Switzerland.

The instrument is constructed from two half-shells of steel glued together at the rim leaving the inside hollow to create a resonator effect. The top (“Ding”) side has a center ‘note’ hammered into it and eight ‘tone fields’ hammered around the center. The bottom (“Gu”) is a plain surface that has a tuned sound hole in the center. This opening combined with the air volume in the body of the Hang act as a resonator.

Virtual Hang

Playing the Virtual Hang is Easy

To play the Virtual Hang, simply hover your pointer over the central ding or any of the eight tone fields. Move slowly to hear individual notes. Try moving in small circles over different areas to produce different arpeggios.

The Virtual Hang is modeled after a first generation Hang with an central Ding surrounded by eight tone fields. It is tuned to a D Hijaz kar scale, also known as the Persian Scale. This scale consists of the following notes: D, E flat, F sharp, G, A, B flat, C sharp. The tone fields span one full octave from D4 to D5 beginning at the bottom and alternating from left to right. The Ding is tuned to A3 which is a low fifth. The Gu side is currently not available.

There is a graphic control panel for adjusting volume, pan, and various filters. The controls can be adjusted with a mouse by clicking and dragging the sliders on the screen or with a qwerty keyboard by pressing certain keys. All of the keyboard shortcuts are listed for easy reference. There are also tips & tricks for tuning, playing and modulating the sound.

If you enjoy the sound, please consider purchasing a real Hang from PANArt. In the meantime, you can get the hang of the Hang here.

Browser Support

As of this writing, the Web Audio API only works in Chrome. Support for other browsers is coming soon. Therefore, you should probably definitely download Chrome before trying to use this app!

Features Wishlist

  • QWERTY keyboard mapping (to trigger sounds)
  • Multiple levels for each note
  • Reverb effects

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