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Everything Related to the Steelpan Instrument and Music

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The steelpan (pan) was invented in Trinidad during the forties. It is a definite pitch, an acoustic percussive instrument of the idiophone class with a playing surface of circular cross-section made from steel, stretched to a concave shape, and attached to a hollow, cylindrical resonator called a skirt. The playing surface is optimized into a number of isolated convex sections called notes. Steelpans are usually played with hand-held, rubber-tipped, non-sonorous mallets called sticks.

Steelpans were traditionally made from discarded oil drums but modern methods of manufacture include hydroforming a sheet of 18-20 gauge mild steel and attaching the skirt by suaging or welding. In this regard, the late inventor Jomo Wahtuse received a US Utility Patent on May 19th, 2020 for his ‘hydroforming press - a technology that facilitates the first process towards mass production of steelpan instruments to satisfy global educational markets.

It would be in the interest of the fraternity if Pan Trinbago, The Steelpan Tuners’ Guild of Trinidad and Tobago, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts of Trinidad and Tobago, The Pan in Schools Coordinating Council, and Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards could collectively advocate ensuring that the steelpan is officially proclaimed as the national musical instrument of Trinidad and Tobago as soon as possible.

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