Steelpans (also known as steel drums or
pans, and sometimes, collectively with other musicians, as a steel
band or orchestra) is a musical instrument originating from Trinidad
and Tobago. Steel pan musicians are called pannists. Steelpans are
built using sheet metal with a thickness between 0.8 mm and 1.5 mm..
The sheet metal is stretched into a bowl shape (this is commonly known as 'sinking'). This process is usually done with hammers, manually or with the help of air pressure. Despite being a relatively new member of the percussion family, steelpan tuning techniques have advanced rapidly.
There are several ways in which a
steelpan may become out of tune (most commonly this is caused by
playing the steelpan with excessive force and incorrect handling) and
it is quite common that steelbands arrange to have their instruments
tuned once or twice a year.
A beginner must be careful with the tuning and attempt to imbibe great skills from their trainer to manage to make the notes sound both good and at the correct pitch. Much of the tuning work is performed using hammers and is most crucial.