The aim of this course / demonstration is to expose students to the various aspects of technology which impact on the manufacture and application of the steelpan.
This course attempts to summarise and present, in a formal fashion, current knowledge on various technological aspects of the
steelpan musical instrument. The major technologies that impact on the instrument are acoustics, mechanical vibration,
metallurgy, physical structure and signal analysis. However, no special prerequisite knowledge is required in any of these
areas. The course starts off with an overview of the very subjective area of the perception of music. This is essential as it
provides a reference point for later discussions. Other topics include the manufacturing process, including a discussion on the
types of metallurgical properties required for different instrument characteristics, the modal properties of the instrument and
the dynamics of the stick impact. The course ends with some consideration of significant recent developments.
At the end of this course students will be able to:
1. Discuss and describe the stages of manufacture of a typical steelpan
2. Describe the metallurgical variations undergone during the various stages of manufacture
3. Describe the more common pan note arrangements and their musical ranges
4. Identify and describe the functions of the various pan components: playing surface, support web (inter-notes), notes, rim,
skirt, stand and support attachment, and stick.
5. Discuss current theories on the vibration mechanism of the instrument
6. Sketch the typical modal characteristics of at least one pan range
7. Describe the general character and properties of some recent pan innovations: the "black" pan
8. Estimate and measure the acoustic radiation patterns of selected instruments
9. Describe techniques for amplified performance with or without microphones