Steel pans are percussion instruments made from industrial drums, which are also known as pans or steel drums. Steel pans originated in Trinidad and Tobago following the arrival of the French with their slaves during the French Revolution. Percussion music was banned in the country in 1880, and orchestras with instruments made of dustbin lids and oil drums first appeared in the 1930s. When the United States When the Navy arrived in the early 1940s, they were introduced to the steel pan, and its popularity spread throughout the world. The first steel pans were made from used oil drums, but they are now manufactured as a standalone instrument to specific specifications.
Pannists are musicians who perform on the steel pan.
To create the sound of metal music, early metal pan musicians used a variety of tools, including kitchen utensils and metal containers.
The bottom of an oil drum is pounded into the shape of a bowl when making a steel pan. Hammers are used for further shaping and tuning, creating surfaces that resonate to produce distinct sounds.
Steel pan instruments were originally played in steel bands using instruments such as dustbins, biscuit tins, and soap boxes. Steel bands now include other instruments such as triangles, bongos, congas, vibraphones, other percussion instruments, and cow bells.
Calypso music is the most popular and well-known music played on the steel pan.
Steel bands competed against each other early in the history of the steel pan in Trinidad. Steel band members were thought to be gang members, and street fighting was common. As a result, steel bands were looked down upon.
The steel pan was designated as the official national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago in 1992.
The popularity of this music has grown since the first steel pans and steel bands appeared. Steel bands with steel pan musicians can be found in Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, and many other non-Caribbean countries.
Winston ‘Spree’ Simon invented the first’melody pan,’ which could play an entire melody.
Ellie Mannette was the first steel pan musician to wrap the sticks in rubber to soften the sound. He also designed the concave shape that is still used in the design today.
Anthony Williams was one of the first steel pan musicians to use a 55 gallon oil drum to make a steel pan. He also invented the’spider web pan,’ which is now a popular tenor pan design.
Bertie Marshall invented the double tenor pam. He also recognized that the sun harmed the steel pan and began using canopies for shade during outdoor play.
Steel pans only have about a one and a half octave range when compared to other instruments.
Bass steel pans are extremely heavy and difficult to transport.
Since 1964, Trinidad has hosted the World Steel Band Music Festival.
Panorama, Trinidad’s largest steel band competition, is held during Carnival.