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Please somebody or people, Please Standardize the Steel pan, it is a MUST, so that someone or a band coming from overseas can rent the Pans to take part in Competition of Panorama/Boroughs day/Pan is beautiful/Music festival. You don't have to worry bout expenses to transport the Pan from overseas, more money for the people in T'dad for renting the Pans more revenue for Pan trinbago, everybody will share in this. All position of notes must be the same, the holes must be Bored at the same spot. eg; on a Cello, if it's Diminish like F dim, F G# B D

going clock wise, then all should be clock wise and not anti clock wise, and so on. This will advance the Steel pan/ the Culture /the Art form financially, All the players need is to get to T'dad and walk with money or plastic in their pocket and their Mallets/Sticks, and if they forget their Sticks at home, no problem buy some in T'dad. Please look at the big picture

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Gerard, This Bass layout starting with  CG going to the right and ending with Bb F makes it easier to set up just like the 4ths & 5ths on the Tenor pan, 

Bede that's the reason it's layed out that way. The four cello also.

 I think de facto standardization is happening slowly but surely, and I am no longer as concerned about it as I once was.

I do not have any statistics, but I believe over time pan people are figuring out the best and most efficient ways of doing things, and one day we may even get to de facto standardization by a process of evolution.

As older tuning pioneers pass on, younger tuners and the market are deciding on the most practical and logical  layouts and technical criteria for the pan family.

And it probably won't do any harm if some choice remain to tuners arrangers and players as to their preferred formats; something of an "Apple vs PC" choice shouldn't hurt.

The term "standardization" suggest a fixed set of rules regarding the configuration and technical  aspects of the pan.

But the pan may still be evolving.

Consider where we would be if we had decided to "standardize" in 1966 !


Basically we agree, Glenroy ... natural evolution may in fact lead to the desired level of "standardization", perhaps too slowly for some, but as you say, "younger tuners and the market" are already "deciding on the most practical and logical layouts and technical criteria for the pan family".  This is really nothing new - it's how pan has been evolving ever since its creation back in the 30s. And it's also why any international legal claim to the pan must also include the past evolution of the process.  Patenting the G-pan is fine, just don't exclude prior evolution.



Thanks, Sidd:


I WILL re-read the G-pan link that I has saved before as a favorite before, particulary with regard to this "legal principle" you stress.  I'm also glad you clarified that the patent implicitly affirms the inclusion of the techniques developed by the original masters  [Tony Williams and Bertie Marshall].

By the way, I sent you an e-mail [at siddha@gmail.com] requesting a sample of your pan sounds, as you invited the forum to do, but it bounced back to my inbox.  Please check my syntax.


Thanks,  Peter

Glenroy, THANK YOU for your comments and for the realization that pan is still an evolving instrument. Today, some of the instruments are set in their configurations but there are, to date, two different configurations of lead instruments that are in use. Hence, one's need to investigate and have both configurations usable as the normal standards even though they differ. I am speaking presently about the modified Invaders lead pan and the cycle of 4ths/5ths lead pan. 

Most bands today use the cycle of 5ths as their lead pans and this is standard. But, the Desperadoes and Renegades Steel Orchestras, who are recognized as being in the top category of steel bands still use the modified pattern of the Invaders steel pan which means that this particular pan has to be also included in the process of standardization as one of the legitimate patterns for lead. Many people in the steel band community are not aware of this and they need to become educated about the different instruments that are in fact in place.

What happens to patterns that certain bands have and others do not? Are we going to omit those? Only evolution will answer that. We need to be careful not to limit the evolution of an instrument in the rush to "standardize." Time and circumstance will dictate. Simply take a look at other long established instruments of the world that are supposedly "standard" but are STILL evolving. This is true for the flute, oboe, bassoon, clarinet, sax, trumpet, trombone, French Horn, tuba, string bass. Each has had major additions after supposedly being standard. Whether those changes and additions remained a part of the instrument was truly determined by demand! 

For example, the flute added a foot joint enabling it to reach a low B instead of the previous low note of C. Although "student" model instruments do not have this option, almost every professional model sold has it. Professionals desire it so the demand made it standard. The double reed instruments of oboe and bassoon are constantly being tweaked for improvements. The clarinet went through the addition of several keys to improve the throat tones. Unfortunately, the instrument changes were never popularized and it failed to standardize. The baritone sax added a low A. It stuck. Many brass instruments changed from piston valves to rotary valves, now the standard. Low brass, euphonium and tuba, added a 4th valve instead of three to improve intonation. French Horns developed a double instrument with a trigger to go between the two. I can go on forever!

Suffice it to say, the pan is so very young in the scheme of time. It will evolve. Standardization will eventually come to it. It is not nor should it be at this point in its development dictated. Let the natural process take place.

Just as in the 50s when Dr. Eric Williams made the "University of Woodford Square" by preaching his politics and made every "man on the street" become aware of politics, everybody from that point on thought they knew politics. This is the same thing we see today with pan. Since pan has been accepted in the outside world the people bringing up the issue of "standardization" are not pan tuners, or pan players per se (because pan tuners/players can play any pan.) Those who are scared of the pan being exploited and taken away from them are the ones raising this issue. There is nothing to be afraid of. Although the sax was invented by a Belgium and developed in Paris, today it is played more abroad than in its home. The piano and violin, invented in Italy, are played in concert halls throughout the world, more than in Italy.

As far as the G-Pan goes, pan in our country has never been supported by any of the higher ups in society. But, all of a sudden, the same society that denied the beginnings of pan takes off a pattern previously invented by a pan man (Anthony Williams) calls it their own, without consulting the steel pan fraternity, and hopes that it will be the pan of the future. Time will tell.....Pure banditry!

Point: when we visited Europe as a steel band in the 60's we had problems placing a ten piece orchestra in a night club. Where are we going to put a ten piece G-Pan orchestra? In the Savannah? Oh, by the way, I'm sorry, I forgot the G-Pan is supposed to minimize the steel band. Don't get me started. I still say you need an empty Maxi Taxi if you have a G-Pan! A. Joseph, Steel Pan Maker

Charlene I hope you guys upped your game, cause the approach was not done that wellin the early 1990's logic was lacking in some areas, I was doing the first comprehensive pan tuning course at Exodus panyard and one guy came there with a bag of sticks, a sketch pad and a tuner, and began playing notes and drawing the designs too proud to consult with the players in the yard , marked the wrong notes in his drawing not realising that he drew a pan with 4 Bb notes and no A, that's because the pan he chose had sharp out of tone notes, next thing no consideration were given to the practical applications. regarding basses there are 2 versions of 4ths n 5th's (1) A n E , Bb n Eb etc and the other A n D, Bb n F etc in the 1st configuration the lowest note should be one of the following from G, A or B, in order to have a range from highest to lowest without omiting notes yet some tuners make them from Bb in such a case you will have a high E but no high Eb, in the other configuration it needs to be either low G#, Bb, or C, some make them from low A or B again subsequently making it from low A would result with a pan that has no high Eb  yet has a high E

Charlene Lusk, the Bureau of standards in Trinidad along with selected tuners (one is Grenadian who works out in the UK)decided on which patters are to be used for standardization, so it was not no one.For example people involved with pan mainly musicians who do not play pan,decided that they only wanted the tenors from C and high tenors from D were not accepted for the program, although it was explained that the high tenor has a different sound/tone to the low tenor and the best thing would be a 50/50 mix, but some people know it all.Prior to this, high tenors were mainly used and a few low now it's the reverse

Anothing thing to consider is that large bands that have made substantial investments in a particular style of pans may be unwilling to discard them for the sake of standadization, given the costs of pans nowadays

These pans, however will need to be replaced at some point .
Like I said, time and evolution!

Minister challenges Pan Trinbago:

“People all over the world want the steelpan and the adherence to international standards of professionalism and business practices can mean the difference between success and failure,” Douglas told the audience.

Douglas said Trinidad and Tobago must become the benchmark, the standard, the brand, the best thing; whatever you call it we must be it. 

“I challenge Pan Trinbago to realising these ideals and expect that the International Conference and Panorama will represent a definite move in the direction of high levels of management and leadership for the steelpan sector,” ended the minister.

Pan Trnbago’s president Keith Diaz said the unveiling of the logo speaks of another bold and measured step along the road which leads to a place of progress, satisfaction and success.

International Conference and Panorama 2015

With this in mind, the Trinidad and Tobago international conference and panorama is being hosted as a pioneering effort for global outreach to internationalize the steel pan industry."

Time & Place!!!

Time and Tide Wait for No Man  

Old meet New (Mr. Earl Rodney plays the E-Pan V2 for the first...

The renowned Earl Rodney one of the three time Panorama Champion arrangers of the Golden Era of pan jams with a young steel-pan protegee Mr Joshema Mcintosh on the latest version of the E-Pan Version 2. He sits down with the inventor E-Pan Man and expresses candidly his view about the New Steelpan Technology. With this new E-Pan the player is able to put the notes in any location, he/she desires. Mr. Rodney plays a very unique style of Double Seconds.We re-mapped the notes to his liking, not just location but Octives as well. 

pan is gradually standardizing themselves, there are just about two sets of bases, both 4ths and 5ths and one can find them anywhere the bands that do not use them need to invest in some if not all so the players can transfer the music before travelling, the bands can also have the holes drilled on the skirt and use individual stands so they can adjust to suitthere are also two types of 4 pans, tenors are already one style a few individual preferences, same goes for the seconds , I would recommend holes on the sides that way man can adjust them to whatever position they choose


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