Sounds and Scales

On our “Sounds and Scales Page" you will find a list of scales we offer with their descriptions, the available keys and a video.  Transpositions and custom scales are possible and we are more than happy to help create the perfect instrument for you.  Below are videos comparing the different scales we offer on our "Helios Mini" steel tongue drum, but other videos of each instrument series can be found under the products listing on our front page for those instruments.

*Our videos are best viewed with external speakers or headphones, as cellphone speakers tend to lack the dynamic range for a full-sound experience.*


The Akebono scale is a musical scale commonly used in traditional Japanese music. Akebono and the Diatonic scale use the same intervals, but Akebono has no fixed tonic; as such, any Akebono note can be the tonic.  Strong, Solid, Interesting.

Available Keys: E minor, F minor, G minor, A minor, B minor, C minor, D minor
Standard Key: E minor


The Annaziska scale is a very popular minor scale for handpans. It is most known through the "Sam Maher Subway Video" that has been shared widely on social media platforms. It is a very nice minor scale, similar to the Kurd and Integral.

Standard Scale: C# minor

Arbutus / Big Bear

The Arbutus scale is derived from the Mixolydian mode, and is warm, and expressive. It is our most “up-beat” and “happiest” sounding scale that we offer.  Great if you are looking for something Angelic and crystalline.  Excited, Bubbly, Changing.

Available Keys: G Major, A Major, Bb Major
Standard Key: A Major

Celtic Minor

The Celtic Minor is one of the most popular scales for melodic steel instruments.  By eliminating some of the more tension-creating intervals, you are left with a very harmonically strong minor scale that sounds reminiscent and searching.

Available Keys:  C Minor


The Integral scale was very popular on the hang, and was most notably seen in the "Once Again" video by the musical group "Hang Massive". It is a balanced and well-rounded minor, with more highs than the Kurd or Annaziska scale.

Standard Key:  D Minor
Available Keys:  C minor, D minor, E minor

Golden Arcadia

The Golden Arcadia is a warm extended major scale that has a lot of depth and personality.  Although it is based in the key of G major, the strong C root coupled with the F# incidental leans it more towards some of the more diverse sounding modes, while still retaining the familiarity of the C Major scale.

Standard Key: C Major


The Hijaz scale is very common in Middle Eastern music, particularly Arabic and Egyptian Music. It may be seen as an altered Phrygian mode that is a Phrygian with a raised third in the key of C relating to the third mode in a C Major scale system. Exotic, Mysterious, Spooky.

Available Keys: D minor, E minor, F minor, G minor
Standard Key: D minor


The Melog scale has 5 notes of the E Major scale (A Major pentatonic variation), which give this drum a full sound, and is easy access for beginners. It has octaves of all the notes allowing for the creation of some pleasant over-tones. Full, Broad, Confident.

Available Keys: D Major, E Major, F Major
Standard Key: E Major


The Onoleo is an exotic minor scale that is warmer, and less spooky than the Hijaz, and there is a lot of potential for exploration in this scale.   It is fun to play, but can be difficult for beginners to work with.

Standard Key:  C Minor
Available Keys:  C minor


The Penta-tone scale is Major Pentatonic scale (In various keys), the Major pentatonic Scale steps are: 1-2-3-5-6. These drums are great for beginners or if you are looking for a Steel Tongue Drum to match a particular Major key you are wishing to play in. Our most popular scale. Warm, Bright, Harmonically Solid.

Available Keys: D Major, E Major, F Major, G Major, A Major, B Major, C Major
Standard Key: G Major


The Pygmy scale is a minor pentatonic scale, with a yearning quality. Use of the Pygmy scale has grown in popularity since the invention of the Hang (instrument) in the year 2000, handpan’s such as the Halo and also steel tongue drums. All of which have been made using sound models based on the Pygmy scale.  Searching, Yearning, Flowing.

Available Keys: D minor, E minor, F minor
Standard Key: E minor


The Renaissance scale is a Dorian Mode which is a minor type scale (it has a b3) and is most commonly used for jazz and blues improvisation. It is usually the first choice for playing over an unrelated minor chord (meaning a minor chord not obviously in a particular key). Our most popular minor scale. Powerful, Deep, Magic.

Available Keys: D minor, E minor, F minor
Standard Key: D minor


The SaBye is a warm and bright scale that is feels very lively and upbeat while still being quite soothing.  This is a great major scale variation to choose if you are looking for something that is not as common as a Major Pentatonic.  Great for all levels of players.

Available Keys: F Major, E Major, D Major
Standard Key: E Major

Solstice / Aeolian Mode

The Solstice scale is full, bright, and very soothing. A very popular scale for yoga classes and meditation. Reminiscent of classical piano, and beautiful musical forms can be created within its note range. Our second most popular minor scale.  Soothing, Transforming, Eloquent.

Available Keys: F Major, G Major, A Major
Standard Key: G Major

Double-Sided Instruments

Our Double-Sided Instruments have some well thought-out features and good versatility that make them a great choice for someone wanting to have more melody options available for their musical creations.

Double-Sided Instruments Explained

Our Double-Sided Drums generally combine two scales:  A 9 note Major scale, and its 9 note relative minor.  With our double-sided scale combinations you get a more versatile instrument in terms of scale variety, and a more layered sound profile.  The double-sided instruments have a sound that is reminiscent of being underwater, ethereal and other-worldly, and it is quite beautiful.  There is a slight loss of over-all volume as adding tongues to the bottom of the instrument to add more notes removes some of its ability to hold resonance.  Most people find this to be an acceptable trade-off for the increase in sound-quality and versatility.


The Chilcotin combines our most popular scale "Renaissance" (Dorian Mode) with our most user friendly scale "Penta-tone" (Major Pentatonic) and creates a very harmonically strong mix. The name of this scale comes from a geographic location in British Columbia known as the "Chilcotin Plateau" which is an area of rolling grasslands, large mountains, and wild beauty. Strong, Robust, Expressive

Renaissance and Pentatone – D minor/F Major


The Damascus combines one of our most exotic scales, the "Hijaz" (A Harmonic minor), with a very bright and warm major scale "Arbutus" (A mixolydian mode).  This scale combination is beautiful and has the most variety between the two scales in our double-sided combinations.

Hijaz and Arbutus - D minor and Bb Major


The Shogun combines the Akebono scale, with our Pentatone (major Pentatonic).  The Akebono is mysterious and ethereal, while the major pentatonic gives good grounding to the instruments overall sound-profile.  It is our highest and brightest doube-sided combination.

Akebono and Pentatone - D minor and F major



The Yin-Yang combines the Pygmy scale and the Melog Scale.  The Pygmy is a beautiful minor, that is complimented well by the warmth and brightness of the Melog scale.  The Pygmy and the Melog scale are both very popular choices for Handpans.  This scale combination is all about balance.

Pygmy and Melog - D minor and F Major