The “Pygmy” scale is one of the most popular Hand pan scales made. It is a pentatonic (5 note) variation. There does not seem to be a direct correlation between the handpan variation and traditional Pygmy music. This is partially due to a difference of temperament in modern music. The name “Pygmy” was likely first associated with handpans by Panart when they built a few different variations named “Pygmy” during the creation of the first Generation Hang 2002 – 2005.
The Pygmy variation comes in two forms. In the first form, the center note is the first note of the scale and then skips to the 4th note of the minor scale and proceeds through the pygmy variation. For example, D3 center with the lowest side note of G3. This is one of our favorite variations as the side notes produce a beautiful “Pygmy” vibe while the center note grounds the scale in D Minor for two subtly different but also distinct feels. We denote these variations first by the center note minor scale and then by the Pygmy variation. For example, “D Minor/G Pygmy” is a G Pygmy scale on the side notes with a D Center note to ground the scale in D Minor.
In the second form, the first note of the scale is the center note. It then moves a whole step to the first side note. An example is an F3 center note with the first side note being G3. This is a very rare occurrence in handpans as they almost always skip at least 1 note between the center note and first side note while sometimes they skip an entire octave. It seems to work well with the pygmy scale however. It tends to integrate all of the notes vs the traditional handpan layout that gives a strong tonic foundation to the center note. We denote these variations simply by the Pygmy variation.
We have built the Pygmy in D Minor/ G Pygmy and are eager to build many more variations of it.
A number of bottom note options are also available. When ordering, look under your desired center note, then “Minor” scale variations for these layouts. You can then add additional bottom notes to your order.
Please Contact us if you have any questions.
D Minor/ G Pygmy
D/ G, A, Bb, D, F, G, A
Please contact us if you would like any of the following. Bottom note options are in “parentheses”.
G2 Pygmy (G Minor)
G/ (D, F) G, A, Bb, D, F, G, A (D)
A2 Pygmy (A Minor)
A/ (E, G) A, B, C, E, G, A, B (C, E)
B2 Pygmy (B Minor)
B/ (D, F#, A) B, C#, D, F#, A, B, C# (D)
C Minor / F Pygmy
C/ (Eb) F, G, Ab, C, Eb, F, G (Ab, C, Eb)
C# Minor/ F# Pygmy
C#/ (E) F#, G#, A, C#, E, F#, G# (A, C#, E)
D Minor/ G Pygmy
D/ (F) G, A, Bb, D, F, G, A (D)
E Minor/ A Pygmy
E/ (G) A, B, C, E, G, A, B (C, E)
F# Minor/ B Pygmy
F#/ B, C#, D, F#, A, B, C#
F#/ A, B, C#, D, F#, A, B, C# (D)
F#3 Pygmy (F# Minor)
F#/ G#, A, C#, E, F#, G#, A, C# (E)
Learn more about the history of the strange, exotic, mysterious and poetic handpan scale names that are unique to the instrument.