The Dreamlike Music of the HandPan
With its distinctive UFO design and its mysterious, magical sound, If ever there was an instrument that had been plucked straight out of dreamland, it would most certainly be the Handpan.
The handpan, also known as the hang drum, hangpan and spacedrum, is a surprisingly modern instrument with an ancient and mystical sound - ideal for meditation and relaxation.
The original instrument, the Hang, was invented by Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer, of PANArt, in Bern, Switzerland in the year 2000.
However, the small production numbers and the high price of the original instrument made finding an original hang drum for sale nearly impossible.
Fortunately, now wonderful companies such as Nature Pan Music have brought the instrument to a wider audience.
An Instrument Perfect for Dream Creativity
The handpan itself is a perfect tool for experimenting with the ability to practice and explore creativity within the dreamscape.
Firstly, it is a deceptively simple instrument, often with only 8 to 11 notes, depending on the design. This is a very easy musical system for the mind to model within a dream.
Secondly, the instrument is versatile, allowing for complicated and beautiful tunes that rely on dexterity and an understanding of the physics and resonance of the instrument.
This creates an ideal combination between simplicity and complexity - an ideal balance for pushing the learning and modelling abilities of the dreaming brain.
Once can easily memorise the basic sounds of the instrument, but the question is:
Can we use this information to practice upon a dream pan (and improve) on a dream version of the pan within a lucid dream?
Learning the Hand Pan in the Dreamworld
I've always been somewhat of a hobbyist musician. For the longest time, I'd longed to play on a handpan.
Late last year I had the pleasure to discover that a new friend of mine was both an owner of the instrument and a talented player. She was kind enough to allow me the occasional use of her pan.
During this very limited use, I made a concerted effort to memorise the scale and workings of the instrument, with the plan to then create my own duplicate in my lucid dreams.
The plan was a success!
Composing Music Within a Lucid Dream
For several months, I had access to the real-world pan for perhaps a handful of hours. However, I had set myself the challenge to learn to play it within my dreams. This I managed to achieve with only minimal effort, I simply set the intention each night to use my lucid dreams as a practice session.
Surprisingly, my dreaming mind had little trouble recreating the instrument, based on my carefully observed waking memories. So, I set about regular dream practice sessions, using any time spent in a lucid dream as a personal music lesson.
As my skills improved, I eventually decided upon the idea of composing a tune within the dreamscape, something I have done before, but never with an instrument so unfamiliar. So, on the night of June 6th, 2017, I decided to conjure a favourite musician of mine, Simon Posford (of Shpongle), into my lucid dream. The plan was to share a "lucid jam session".
The plan was successful, and as anyone who follows my YouTube channel will know, upon waking I immediately set to record the music composed within the dream (full dream details can be found in the YouTube video description):
Nature Pan Music
As the video circulated the internet, I was pleasantly surprised to make contact with Juris Zvejnieks, a handpan creator and the owner of Nature Pan Music.
Juris, was so inspired by the concept of combining lucid dreaming creativity with the handpan, that he very kindly decided to sponsor my lucid musical explorations and my work by supplying me with one of his own wonderful creations.
As a testament to the kindness and generosity of strangers, the power of exploring new ideas, and the wonder of the lucid dreaming community. I'm now the proud owner of a Nature Pan music handpan.
This is wonderful news and means that I shall now be in a position to research and explore this concept much further, while also creating unique meditative music for the lucid dream community.
So, should you wish to become a lucid handpan player yourself, I highly recommend the work of Nature Pan Music - Juris' company is clearly one based on creativity, kindness and passion. You'd be in very good hands.
A New Challenge - Inventing a Dream Instrument
As Juris and got to know each other, I decided there was a unique opportunity for an entirely new challenge. For the next few months, I shall be using my increasing knowledge of the Pan to work within my lucid dreams to attempt to develop a "lucid pan", the first handpan to be designed within a lucid dream.
So, keep an eye on my YouTube channel and World of Lucid Dreaming, to see how this (ahem) pans out.
Who knows, within a few months, we may have an instrument that sounds like a dream, can be learnt in dreams, and was created within a dream. What a testament to the power of lucidity that would be!
Also, please be sure to check out Nature Pan Music, their kindness and generosity towards helping push lucid dream exploration and creativity further, really deserves the support of the community. So, if you're looking to explore the hand pan yourself, then you couldn't ask for a better place to start: