10 Inspirational Instruments that Sound Awesome with a HandPan


A handpan sounds incredible on its own but often when scouring the net and YouTube you see them played solely. As a social animal, it would be great to be able to jam with other musicians, so the question begs.

What other instruments do a HandPan work with? – The list is only limited by your imagination but consider these.

  • Another Handpan [Of course]
  • Guitar
  • Trumpet
  • Digeridoo
  • Djembe & Violin
  • Drum & Bass
  • Flute
  • Frame Drum
  • Harp
  • Calabash

With a bit of imagination, the sound of the best handpans can be complimented with all of these instruments above. Below I have collated some of my favorite handpan videos from YouTube. These are from hundreds I have collected over the years. Scroll down to discover just how great the handpan works with other instruments too.

Another Handpan [Of course]

Additional handpans can sound great with players who are both skilled and in perfect synchronization.

Take Danny Cudd and Markus Offbeat as an example. World renown as Hang Massive they record and release wonderful hang music in the Ambient genre. After releasing some videos on YouTube that went viral, they are arguably the best known Hang musicians recording and releasing music.

In this video, they play four Handpans between them. 2 x Original PANArt Hangs, and a pair of Handpans from AsaChan.

Hang Massive playing 4 handpans

Obviously, this is a professionally produced video with studio recording and presentation. The best place to find a handPan jam is to visit a festival or handpan playing group.

You could reach out on a facebook group to see if there are other players around your location, get together and experiment on how you play together. Who knows? You could be the next Hang Massive!

There is another wonderfully talented duo by the name of Yatao, who feature a little later in this list, who are worth checking out.

HandPan and Guitar

The Guitar is my Nemesis and I might declare one of the main reasons I ended up in the HandPan community. I have on and off owned dozens of guitars, begum learning and plateaued for one reason or another.

Deciding on percussion and latterly handpans as a result, I can enjoy Guitar now as an accompaniment to my musical passion.

Tom Vaylo is someone I have connected within the community given his wealth of experience and expertise. An accomplished musician, here we can watch and listen to him playing Guitar with his handpan.

Tom Vaylo combining his handpan with Guitar

I’m super happy to promote Tom’s YouTube channel as a way of thanks for the insight and help he has given me. Answering many questions along my journey. Thanks, Tom

Handpan and Trumpet

Now, the trumpet is not the first instrument you might think of when considering what sounds might blend well with the soft tones of a handpan. Even now, as the idea is introduced to you, you may visualize a huge brass instrument, Dizzy Gillespie or Louis Armstrong smashing out some Jazz.

Think again. Here we have quartet Bandgladesh (Yes, you will read that twice) with a composition including trumpet sounds which works really well.

Bandgladesh playing Handpan and Trumpet together

We see three of the four coming together to present this tune, although the full quartet is made up as Hassie Dune – N’goni, perc, electronics, Ania Brzezinska – Trumpet, Cuica, Javier Murugarren – Hangs, voice Joris Cohen – Hangs, Cajon

As another instrument played with the handpan, this is OK for me. I’m not a huge brass fan it has to be said, but this works for me just about. I have some more wind instrument collaborations coming up and we go for one of the biggest next.

Handpan and Digeridoo

The digeridoo seems the most natural accompaniment to the handpan for me. It all rolls into one, connecting with the soul, the spirit and nature.

It may also be the most frequently found collaboration with the Handpan.

I travel the Far east quite frequently and it is not unusual, especially in Bali or Thailand to come across a couple of musicians combining handpan music with Digeridoo. Find two very talented players, and I can be rooted to the spot for as long as they want to play.

This example below was filmed in Singapore coincidentally and features Yuki and Taku playing Handpan and Digeridoo together. Enjoy

A HandPan and Digeridoo played together

The versatility of percussion is also apparent with the use of other instruments to complement the full sound of this tune.

When the digeridoo is used alongside the handpan, as with many other combinations, I can close my eyes and visualize being just about anywhere I want to be. Usually tropical, steamy and calm!

Handpan with Djembe & Violin

So here we have another drum in the form of the Djembe and a string from the violin. Credit to OMana Handpan – Anatoly Gernadenko Djembe – Constantin Zaika Violin – Mikhail Kachalov for this composition.

The combination of the three instruments is seamless, the Djembe sets a beautiful rhythm, the handpan a relaxing melody, and the violin set the tone almost invisibly.

Handpan, Violin and Djembe together is incredible

In fact, the longer you listen, the violin is so succinct it even seems to lead and take over.

For meditation, relaxation, and calmness this combination of instruments with a handpan sounds incredible together.

Handpan with Drum & Bass

No, not that drum and Bass. A drum and a Bass guitar! Here we find Gagha Stevanovic, Paul Corona and Flavio Cantele playing three instruments together with a simple rhythm. I actually think we could do away with the drums here and lose nothing from the mix, other than the bass and snare which for me get in the way a little.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cj2Qe2pU8cw
Handpan, bass guitar, and brushed drums.

Personally I think there is a huge amount of mileage in playing the bass guitar with the handpan, especially the PANArt low hang with the deeper notes.

Handpan and Flute

This is one of my favourite videos on YouTube and I am astounded it doesn’t have more views. Behind the Digeridoo, I think the Flute is close to the perfect instrument to accompany the Handpan.

Here we see a pair of Handpans complemented by the Flute presenting a fabulous composition

2 Handpans and a Flute

We are not provided with which handpans are being played, but from the notes I hear I am imagining there is a high count note pan in there as the pitch does sound high. It works perfectly with the flute and is a joy to listen to. higher energy and uplifting.

HandPan and Frame Drum

Mixing any handpan with another percussion instrument should work well, and for me it does right here with the frame drum, dropping in some nice tones.

This works more around the rhythm, the brush adding some depth to the drum sound. It is short and sweet and I would like to find more.

Handpand and Frame Drum

HandPan and Harp

When considering the subject of which instrument would work well with Handpan, I was immediately drawn to the Harp. Perhaps because of my love of the east and eastern music and the sound of this particular string instrument proving that sound in this video I found early on.

The subtley of the string here perfectly enhances the pan sound, although I actually think in this case the handpan is complementing the Harp as opposed to the other way round.

HandPan and Harp – Beautiful together

HandPan and Calabash

Here I fall back to a couple of guys from Germany who are worth a follow and subscribe on YouTube for fabulous music, featuring heavily the handpan. Yatao produces plenty of different sounds. Here we see them combining the handpan with the Calabash.

Yatao present an upbeat collaboration between a handpan and calabash

They improvise virtually everything they play and you can see the spiritual connection between them as they create these tunes.

What other instruments can be played with Handpan?

As I said right at the start, imagination is the only limitation and the list above is not all-encompassing.

Have a look around on YouTube. You will find scores of other instruments used in conjunction with the Hang and handpans. You will even find handpans in the focus of Orchestrations to large concert audiences.

My advice is to get together with some musical friends, with a range of instruments and just jam out. Experiment with different styles and sounds and You’ll be surprised just how good they can sound together.

SteveM

I enjoyed the unpitched appeal of percussion prior to discovering handpans in a 'moment' I was experiencing. I've been writing ever since.

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