We make Moondrums of three diameters: 22 cm (9″), 25 cm (10″) and 30 cm (12″).
They differ from each other by the depth of the sound:
The sound of the smaller ones vibrates shorter, they are more melodic and let you engage in a more rhythmically intense way of playing.
The big ones have deeper sound and longer sustain, also a stronger resonance, therefore they are more suitable for meditative playing.
The medium drums are something in between. They have a shorter sustain but a little deeper sound.
The weight of each diameter drum is also different: 1.5 kg (3 lb), 2.5 kg (5 lb) and 3.5 kg (7 lb) respectively. It is often a key factor for travelers or those who are going to take a Moondrum with them when hiking or going out.
The small drums come in B-lydian scale. It‘s minor scale with diminished 7th. It’s beautiful minor scale with a little pinch of major in it.
The medium drums come in G-major scale.
And the big ones come in E-major scale.
It doesn’t mean they’re locked on that scale. All our drums are tunable. With the specially designed tuning magnets you can change between 4 different scales on any of our drums, in a few moments. The 4 scales are all different from each other giving you the possibility to create a different mood with your drum.
Steel tongue drums are naughty by their nature regarding tuning. It‘s not like we can just take it and tune it to any scale you want. Each volume or tankage of the drum has its own resonant frequencies, nodes and antinodes, and depending on its diameter and arrangement of the tongues some tunings work very well and some – not so good. After years of work and experimenting we settled with three basic tunings that work best for each diameter.
However if you want to have a drum in a particular tuning, we will gladly make one. Just get in touch with us and we can discuss it.
The tuning magnets work by placing them under the tongues from inside the drum. The extra weight changes the pitch of each tongue separately, thus allowing you to switch between the scales.
To switch from one scale to another, simply follow the diagram showed below. In the diagram you will find the list of scales available with the marks demonstrating where to place the magnets. The mark is an approximate spot and it might be a little different for each drum, so to find the precise spot use a tuner application.
Please note that you should handle the magnets with care as a hard impact may damage the instrument's coat.
If you got your moondrum before 2021 you might have a different tongue arrangment or tuning, get in touch with us and we'll provide you with custom tuning manual.
Yes, sure. If you want to deepen your musical experimentation with the Moondrum, it is possible to compose additional scales using tuning magnets for even more possibilities. There are many ways you can tune the drum, feel free to ask us for advice or embark on a journey to make your own scales.
Now, the best part about this instrument is – it is not a know-how thing. It’s a take and play approach. It is created for spontaneous and intuitive playing. Whatever you‘ll play it will sound in harmony. We encourage you to relax and get loose about it. Any rhythmical skills that you have (or will gain) will only compliment your playing.
You can find some tips and see different ways of playing the Moondrum in our Sounds section.
Our advice for beginners who have never played a percussion instrument before is to start with mallets. All Moondrums come with a pair of mallets. Using them it is very easy to produce beautiful sounds with no efforts. They rebound easily on the tongues. It gives a very clear and deep sound.
Keep in mind, we strongly discourage playing the Moondrum using hard (for e.g. wooden) mallets, such as those for xylophones or drums, which may damage the instrument.
For more experienced musicians or those who want to deepen their learning, it is also possible to play this instrument with your hands. The grip is a little more technical to be able to make the tongues sound well. But once you get there it brings a sense of freedom in your way of playing that is indescribable. It also largely expands the ways you can make this instrument sound.
But remember, the technique is secondary! Whether with mallets or with your hands, the most important thing is that you find pleasure in playing your Moondrum!
The double tongues on the big drums (30 cm / 12” diameter) are made to create a longer sustain. Having two extra notes allows to use the “twin note” effect which creates a wider and deeper sound. And a stronger resonance.
The quality and thickness of the steel used in the manufacturing of the Moondrum combined with the heat treatment guarantee very stable tuning. Therefore is no need to re-tune the instrument even after years of use! Although if it does happen we will be happy to bring it back to tuning.
The Moondrum is very durable instrument that will serve you for many years.
Although it is covered with strong powder coat, better avoid giving it too much moisture (for e.g., don't bring it to sauna, don't keep it outside while raining, etc).
We also don't recommend playing it with any kind of hard materials, which could damage the coat.
We usually have a range of ready-made Moondrums, which can be found at the online Store. If you want to fulfill your own ideas and co-create a unique instrument its production time will depend on a particular model. It normally takes from three to four weeks to produce a drum. Just fill in the “Custom Order” form, and we’ll get back to you in 1-2 days.
Over the past few centuries, the tones that have made up western classical music have fluctuated considerably. Initially, there was no standardized pitch for instruments to tune themselves to, which meant that each orchestra would be tuning to a different pitch from one another.
Ever since the 18th century, A4—the A above middle C—has been the measurement and tuning standard for Western music. Depending on what part of the world the orchestra is from, however, A4 could range from anywhere between 400 Hz and 480 Hz.
Named after Heinrich Hertz, who had successfully proven the existence of electromagnetic waves in 1830, the unit of “Hz” measures a cycle per second. Famous composers like Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven all tuned their orchestras to a different pitch, and even when the tuning fork was invented, the note it produced differed depending on whose tuning fork was used.
After several attempts at remedying the difference in tuning standards between different orchestras—A435, A451, A439—the International Organization for Standardization set an international standardized pitch of 440 Hz for A4.
This isn’t universally accepted among all orchestras. For example, The New York Philharmonic uses 442 Hz, the Boston Symphony Orchestra uses 441 Hz, and many symphonies in parts of Europe use 443 Hz or 444 Hz.
The rise of 432 Hz
Many musicians and non-musicians alike vehemently oppose the industry standard of 440 Hz as a reference for tuning. Just by typing “432 Hz” into any search engine, you’ll find many strong opinions about why A432 is the superior temperament to A440, going as far as to say that A432 contains universal and spiritual healing properties, compared to the “aggravating” and “irritating” properties of A440. We're just going to focus on the tuning standard itself for this article.
To give a quick background of how 432 Hz came into the picture, we turn to Joseph Sauveur, a French physicist who, in 1713, came up with the concept of a scientific or philosophical pitch. Basically, this system doesn’t follow the A440 tuning reference, and instead places A4 at 430.54 Hz and middle C—C4—at 256 Hz.
He explained that, by placing middle C at 256 Hz, you can create a system where each octave—or factor—of C lands on an even integer, instead of containing "dreadful" decimals.
Beneficial properties 432 Hz
Lots of websites claim that 432 Hz is a "universal" frequency. In any case, 432 is an interesting number for several reasons.
It is the sum of four consecutive primes: 103 + 107 + 109 + 113. It is exactly three gross—a “gross” was a traditional unit of measurement of 144, or 12 squared. An equilateral triangle whose area and perimeter are equal has a square root of 432. For this reason and many more, multiple people have dedicated themselves to spreading the word about the pros of switching to the 432 Hz system.
If I had to recommend one article to look further into this subject, it would be this one. The author does an amazing job of looking at the argument with an objective and unbiased view, and goes into great depth about the history of 432 Hz and its supposed advantages over 440.
432 Hz or 440 Hz? Listen for yourself!
As with almost everything related to your music, the choice between 432 Hz and 440 Hz is a subjective one, and it’s one for you to make on your own. You can decide for yourself which tuning sounds better to your ears!
This video also gives a good, unbiased argument for listening to the same piece in different frequencies:
The dampening system eliminates the unwanted high-pitch harmonics of the drum. It gives a way softer sound for your Moondrum. Dampening system is not a “locked” option, so you’re free to take off the dampening pad and try out the “raw” sound. Feel free to choose what suits best for your particular needs.