The steel pan, often referred to incorrectly as a steel drum, is a percussion instrument made from industrial oil drums. Steel pans are made by denting the top of the oil drums in a specific way to produce a desired pitch. The smaller the dent the higher the pitch and vice versa. There are many different types of steel pan ranging from the High Tenor pan all the way to the 4 or 6 Pan Bass.
The steel pans were first created in Trinidad and Tobago in the 1930’s, but its history can be traced back as far as the 1700s,
Rocked with Star!
Let’s enjoy the sound of this instrument through this wonderful performance by Ellie Mannette.
Learn more about Ellie Mannette
Known to many as “Father of the Modern Steelpan Instrument”, Mannette is one of the founding fathers of pan, having been there at its inception. What he is most known for is his continuous innovation with the instrument, having pushed the boundaries of what was possible time and time again throughout his illustrious career. Legend suggests that Mannette was the first person to use a discarded oil barrel to build a steelpan. Before that, smaller objects, such as biscuit tins and soapboxes, were used; however, they lacked the full range of notes required to make up a chromatic instrument.