The E-Pan

It is with a spirit and sense of great pride and excitement, that we announce the long awaited arrival of the E-Pan.

The E-Pan name is the abbreviated short form chosen for the electronic steelpan. This novel idea was created using high-tech electronics to advance the invention of the traditional instrument. To lend some background, the steelpan, also known as the steeldrum, is an invention born of the people of Trinidad & Tobago. It is an acoustic musical instrument indigenous to that nation which remains to this day, the only such invention of the 20th century and with the dawn of this new century and millennium it manages to retain that title.

The inception of the steelpan can be traced back to the 1930’s. Since then and throughout the decades, the “cause célèbre” has witnessed advancement through numerous innovations. Considering the track record and history of most musical instruments, to accomplish that much is such a relatively short period of space and time is a remarkable testament to the talents, skills and creativity of the people of T&T.

To get a better sense of the history of the instrument, we suggest you peruse the internet further, starting with the link that follows which is an excerpt extracted from the website of PanTrinbago (The World Governing Body for Steelpan), as good a source and authority as anyone can get.

Design Advantages

  • Enables musician to play in the conventional way without having to relearn another method to master the new instrument, also eliminating the need for studied stage positioning and maintaining proper intonation
  • No need for re-tuning, rusting and premature replacement
  • Durable, compact and light-weight to facilitate ease of transportation
  • Delivers consistent sound and tonal quality
  • Easier for stage set up and positioning than regular steel drums
  • Can be produced in several enhanced versions to cover the complete orchestral range of a conventional steelpan ensemble
  • Provides access to the sounds of just about every musical instrument which is built-in to the instrument

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Design Features Of E-Pan

  • Consists of an electronically operated instrument which is slimmer and lighter than the steelpan, with parts made from materials such as rubber, plastic and electric components/circuitry housed in an industrial plastic covering, where surrounding skirts are more of an aesthetic consideration, than a design necessity
  • The configuration of the notes will differ from instrument to instrument (e.g. tenors; seconds, etc.) with placements recognizing the moves towards standardization
  • Jacks for routing input/output signals to amplifiers and sound systems
  • Users can also choose any particular instrument range as each
    E-Pan will be able to play the complete range from the highest (tenor) to the lowest (bass)
  • Top lip of instrument will have a control console with a panel that will entail; display window, selection of buttons for left/right volume controls etc., CD port which can be used to download a wide variety and selection of sampled sounds and can also be used as a MIDI port making it possible to interface the instrument with other electronic or digital instruments and sound modules.
  • Instrument design will facilitate play-along to accompany your favourite songs (karaoke-style)

About The E-Pan

Now with regards to this latest innovation, from the very start we made the decision to temper eager anticipation with a heavy dose of bridled restraint, as we chose to remain deliberately cautious in timing the release of this “electrifying” news to the global pan community and public at large. Out of honour to the pioneers that originated and developed the instrument and art form, we strive to remain mindful and respectful of the persons in the “Pan Mecca” home in T&T. It is not our fashion to disregard the natural tendency to jealously and zealously guard the noble legacy and birthright of the people, which all things being considered, is normal and understood. Learning from the experience of those who went before, we sensed it was the wisest way to go.

Hence the delay in breaking the news earlier to avoid stepping on toes by making sure all the t’s were crossed and the i’s dotted, to best avoid the pitfalls of doing things the wrong way around. This venture has met the challenge of such an endeavour head on, by putting the horse before the cart through ensuring that all IP rights have been duly and properly protected.

The E-Pan was inspired to create a novel innovation, “by the people, of the people and for the people”.

It has revolutionized the manner in which the “steelpan” sound is delivered, while maintaining the basic and traditional way the instrument is played. The evolution will allow the pannist-musician to remain focused on playing the instrument by concentrating on the performance of music and development of the art form. This can now be done while far less attention is paid to the cumbersome and rigorous logistics hitherto involved with stage setting and sound delivery, especially for large and outdoor venues that are well-known as challenging environments for steelpan acoustics.

The advances that have been made are the results of careful observations to study and analyze the prevailing problems, then using sound application of high technology to provide solutions.

The E-Pan not only delivers a true reproduction of the unique “steelpan sound”, it also delivers the full range of the orchestral symphony such as violin, guitar, piano and horns, which can also be blended with other sounds to favour and flavour experimentation, enhancing the musical versatility of the pannist. This will allow and afford them greater opportunities for valuable work, whether performing solo or as “accom-pannist”.

The prototype has undergone fine-tuning and development and have finish alpha and beta testing the finalized market-ready product is now available.

So to give a brief preview of what can be expected, we will highlight some of the basics of the family of instruments. As a prelude, the E-Pan works on the idea and principles of sound reproduction akin to the electronic musical synthesizer.

The Virtual Prototype demo on the Home Page as well as drawings contained here-in are artist renditions of the conceptual design of the
E-Pan. The actual working prototype is undergoing R&D as it is being finalized. We will publish updated info so you can “preview” developments as soon as they become available. The finished prototype is going to somewhat resemble the artist rendition, however, the finalized production version will be as attractive as the conceptual drawings.