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The thing is , sometimes we get so caught up in thoughts , ideas , and opinions , that we forget reality .

The reality is that we've never standardized TUNING, and since we still have pioneering tuners around,  some of whom may still have their preferences, there is no urgency to do so.

Then you have the steelbands themselves, who have made substantial investments in their pans, and pans are not cheap.

I don't know if it's changed, but I doubt anyone would join a steelband because of the styling. You just use the pans that are there, so there is no real incentive for the bands to change their pans.

So the bands will maintain these pans as long as they can ,and probably add to them when necessary.

(Probably unless someone may wish to buy them out which is highly unlikely.)


And then we have personal preferences, and that's like religion and many would like to maintain theirs, and not have the "government " force a style on them.


So there you are.

Just a few things to think about when you talk of standardization.


Personally, I think this is one area where the market will choose, and I think we are seeing it already.

Panists are deciding on which formats are the best and most practical, and those are the ones they wish to use.

Over time the market will choose the format.

And, maybe that 's the way it should be.

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No, Bede, you'd play whatever your band was using. Of course , nowadays it would most likely be the de facto "standardized " pan

Glenroy, that's what I meant, I would learn to play the "Standardized" Pan,

Fellow Pannists,

I have in my possession, a document titled: Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards Results of the the Steel Pan Survey - 1990; prepared by Leslie Pichery, Standards Officer II. This document was given to me in 1992 when I participated in a conference in Trinidad, where Brothers and Sisters from throughout the Caribbean met to discuss the very serious and important subject of the Standardization of the Pan.

During the discussion held, I got the impression that a great majority of the participants either did not grasp the importance and the seriousness of the the matter being discuss, or that they were just outright selfish, or in the wrong place. Some out rightly stated that they were not interested and some said it can't happen.

Coming from Antigua to such a prestigious gathering, I expected to see the collective thoughts of matured men become reality. Pessimism overtook the gathering. For me, I could discern the fear in the voices of those who expressed their opposition to the Standardization of the Steel Pan.

Being aware of the positive advancements that the Standardization of the Steel Pan can effectuate, and being aware of the scarcity of drums in Antigua, upon my return home, Hells Gate Steel Orchestra commenced the standardization of its instruments. Our Fifth Cycle C - Lead, range C4 - E6  and D - Lead, rangeD4 - G6 are retained; our Alto Pan (Double Tenor) range F3 - C6, is laid out like the Baritone Pan (Double Second), range E3 - A5; Double Guitar, range D3 - A4, Laid out like the Baritone Pan ( all double pans are laid out alike. All 3- Pan instruments are laid out alike and that same for all 4 Pan instruments.

The Standardization of our Pans has benefited us greatly. It makes the instrument more receptive to those who are skeptical about the Pan, Ninety-five percent (95 %) of the schools that has standardized Pans.


Standardization of the Pan can only result in more respect for the artist and the art form. 

We only impede the progress of the Pan when we continue to oppose the Standardization of the Pan.

Standardize !!!!! Socialize !!!!  Economize !!!

One Love!!!! One Pan!!!!

The Panthologist



I think the low-C tenor is pretty much the standard format for soprano.  And the second pan , whether from low E, low F or low F#, also has a well recognised format (so that any seconds player can play any second pan).  The fourths-and-fifths six- bass too is more or less the same throughout TnT, except that different players arrange the drums in different orders, and the same is true of the tenor-bass.

So I think most pan formats (at least the individual drums tuned) are already standard, and I agree that those standard formats probably did evolve for the very reasons you cite: immediate availability; orchestras' difficulty to change them; 'religion-like attachment, etc.

What more would you like to see happen?


You've made my point. Peter. I believe it's already happening.

Many composers have written songs about standardizing the pan, good or bad idea?

well one more was done this year  2014 by '' Tunapuna Scanty "  it would be so much easier

as a player that travels around the world promoting the culture of  Trinidad & Tobago and getting there

and then having access to the instrument. myself  I started to play my first year in 1970 with then

 Golden Stars of Arima and then  " LJ Williams Nutones " of Arima so my time as a competing player

is done and probably many aged  ex-players like myself .

and now that pan is all over the globe why don't we put it to a vote  to the young and new and current

player around the world where pan is being played as we speak,  ( Would it be easier to fly anywhere and just join

in any band  and having the ability to just play )  if the pan became standardized ?

like a Keyboard  a Sax   and a Drum-kit.

they were talking about  this  30 years ago and here we are 30 years later  we are still  talking instead

of just doing  .    it is no longer about the older heads but of the children of tomorrow that will be carrying

on the sounds of steel  from every corner of this Globe that we live on..

Pan as we know it belongs to the culture of T&T but it is now being played in competitions around the

world by kids who are enjoying it and people who are loving it and judges  who are judging it.

so if  they happen to  fly to  Africa or Australia , England or Japan  they  could just stand  behind

any pan and just  play.... just  play....

Well said Miguel. This is happening at the primary school level in Trinidad and Tobago. Any school can leave their pans at home and go to another school and perform on the host school's pans. Again I remind you that it has been happening at Junior Panorama for at least three years now. The Multicultural Music Programme Unit (formerly Pan in the Classroom Unit) is not talking but walking and because many of our school children are using the same style of pans the steelbands may be forced to make a decision concerning the style of pans they use. Recognition of the Pan in Schools Coordinating Council is in order for initiating this project in schools.


Are you related to Egbert Reyes?



Good to hear that the former "pan in the Classroom" initiative has begun/will begin to bear fruit.

I still maintain, however, that pan is already mostly standardised.  Any pan person in the world can come to TnT right now and recognize and play a tenor or seconds.  Probably even a triple-cello.  Double-tenors still have some curious variants, though.



Excuse me while I say to Glen, Great topic Glen!

Peter,this year we borrowed some tenors as we didn't have enough,and we thought we were good to go....but when players started coming in, we realized we had a problem....what happened was,almost all the tenor players were accustomed to High C Tenors and we had borrowed Low C Tenors,which meant we had to return the Low Cs and rent some High Cs.

We also had to increase on the Double Guitars and Seconds and we encountered the same problem.....I believe the triple cello and the four pan are about standardized. We may have to change or other bands may have to change....but standardization has to be the prime objective,soonest!  

Oswald, on the 4 pan some are tunes Augmented and some are tuned 4ths and 5ths, as long as they decide on one Style let's Standardized, other Pans can be made it's up to the Tuners, but at the end they will realized that the Money is in the Standardized Style, and they will tune to suit.

Bede,it seems that most bands have the 4th and 5th,I suppose as bands replace their old instruments they would go to 4th and 5th.


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