How can I acquire a Soma Sound Sculpture?
Although, we usually only build on demand for our clients, we sometimes have a few instruments for immediate purchase on stock.
What is the price of a Soma Sound Sculpture and where are they built?
Soma's Sound Sculptures are being built in Switzerland.
The current batch of standard Soma's are priced at 1855 CHF (without VAT/ sales tax). Soma will only accept CHF or the equivalent of the CHF price in Litecoins.
Extended Range Soma's are priced at 2000 CHF/ 2150 CHF with one or two additional notes, respectively (prices without VAT/ sales tax). "Extended Range" Soma's are marked in the Sound Model section of this page with *Extended Range".
Low extension's are Soma's with two bass notes on the bottom shell to broaden the scale-spectrum. The additional price for the bass notes is 400 CHF (without VAT/ sales tax). These Soma's are marked in the Sound Model section of this page with *Low Extension*
The new sound sculpture LYNX with a standard of 11 top notes and 3 bottom bass notes is 2700 CHF (without VAT/ sales tax). The 3 pedals including beaters and stand will be 500 CHF (without VAT/ sales tax). The pedals can be detached from the stand of the LYNX and attached to all sorts of stands and structures to remotely play gongs, cajons, cowbells, drums, you name it.
If you pick up your Soma Sound Sculpture in person at the Soma workshop in Switzerland, 8% Swiss VAT will be added to the price.
If the Soma is shipped, apart from any applicable custom fees, the VAT of the recipient country will be added to the total price of the Soma plus the
price of a hardcase (see below). These fees will be collected by the customs officials in your country.
We advise customers picking-up their Soma Sound Sculpture to order an Evatek-bag before pick-up ("Evatek M" for standard Soma's and the LYNX, "Evatek S" for a Somita) . An Evatek protects your Soma better than a soft-bag.
If you wish to have your Evatek hardcase custom-designed by artist AnaPaz, or have an engraving done on the Sound Sculpture, please let us know when ordering the instruments. See some recently commissioned art here.
What is the size of a Soma Sound Sculptures?
A standard Soma and a LYNX has a diameter of 55cm and a height of 26cm.
A Somita has a diameter of 52cm and a height of approx. 22cm.
Both sizes are built on high-quality, deep-drawn shells from Shellopan or Ayasa. The raw shells are gas nitrided according to our own recipe in Switzerland.
Why does a Soma have the central dome in a different shape than other handpans?
The shape of the dome on the central tone-field defines the higher modes of vibration of the membrane (higher than the first three tuned one's; see the scientifics section for an explanation). After much experimenting, we found a dome shape that produces the crisp and controllable sound of these higher vibrational modes that we had been looking for. Furthermore, a lower-rise dome makes for easier playing of the central tone field with the (almost) flat hand to excite the deep bass sound of the cavity. Click here for a short instructional video (the bass is only audible with headphones on).
Are Soma's Sound Sculptures shipped?
We prefer people to pick up their Soma in person at our workshop in Switzerland. Shipping can be arranged,
however. Soma's will ship in an Evatek hard-case bag which
will have to be paid by the customer with the shipping costs. If you wish to have your bag custom-designed by artist AnaPaz please get in touch with us at least 2 weeks before expected shipping date.
Please be aware that a shipped Soma will incur customs and/or VAT and/or other charges depending on where it is shipped to (see also above).
What scales can a Soma Sound Sculpture have?
Typically, popular standard scales feature 9 notes on a Soma-size handpan and 8 notes on a smaller Somita-size handpan.
Extended Range Somas will have one or two more notes than a standard scale Soma. They are marked with *Extended Range" in the Sound Models section.
The sound sculpture LYNX will currently only come in one scale. Bass notes: D3, F3, G3 ; notes on top: A3 Bb3 C4 D4 E4 F4 G4 A4 Bb4 C5 D5
How do I know which scale to choose?
How are standard Soma's and Somita's named?
The first two letters in the brackets before the scale name indicate the note of the central tonefield and the lowest note on the ring of notes around the central tone field, respectively. For example an "(E/G) Hari Nata" has a central tonefield in E and starts the scale with a low G. The name in this example ("Hari Nata") is the official name of the particular interval between the notes of the scale. The official names can be found here.
Is the bottom hole tuned?
The port usually has two or three tuned frequencies forming a chord that fits the scale of the Soma.
The port of the LYNX will not be tuned.
Does my Soma Sound Sculpture rust?
Although Soma's are chemically and thermally heat treated to prevent rust and a fine varnish coating is applied at the end of the production process, Soma's may rust under longer-term exposure to humid and salty conditions (e.g. places close to the sea, places with extended rainy periods, summer months in general, etc.). To keep your Soma rust-free we advice you to wipe your Soma with a (micro-fiber) cloth after EVERY playing session. Human sweat - e.g. from the hands - is highly rust inducing. NEVER store your Soma in a bag. Use a bag only for transportation. Depending on the climate you are living in, careful application of biological products such as Phoenix Handpan Oil or just common coconut oil onto the outside of the Soma may be necessary (wipe off any visible residue of the oil after application, though). At the latest when your hands leave visible fingerprints on the Soma, some oil should be applied. If rust develops, please send us a picture and ask us for advice. Here's an good article on the topic.
Does a Soma Sound Sculpture need to be retuned?
To ensure stability of tuning, every Soma is tuned many times from the beginning of the building process until finalisation. In between the tuning rounds heat is applied to redistribute and relax stress concentrations. Nevertheless, even the most stable built handpans are drifting in tune over time. However, as all notes simultaneously tend to drift sharp with playing, usually a handpan stays in tune in itself.
Most hobby players in the handpan community do not feel a need to have their instruments retuned in the first 2-3 years. For professional musicians who play their handpans often and who would like to play along other instruments tuned to an exact pitch (e.g. A4=440hz), a tune-up every 6-18 months may be necessary. The first retune for a Soma is free of charge (excluding shipping to and from the Soma workshop). Additional tune ups will cost between 60 - 120 CHF (depending on time needed for retuning).
Retuning is not to be confused with repairing a damaged instrument. In this case other prices and conditions apply. Please contact us in such case.
Can I sell or swap my Soma Sound Sculpture?
Yes, you may. However, we strongly urge you to not buy and sell just for profit.
Why are Soma's not called "Hang (Drum)" but Handpan?
"Hang" is a registered trademark of PANart Hangbau AG. It is a legally protected brand name.
We would also never call our instruments "drums" as they are not only played differently but also work very distinctly from a physical/ technical point of view.
Where can I find more information about handpans, playing techniques, workshops and gatherings?
There are many useful groups on Facebook which aim at connecting players and share the handpan passion. Also there are every year more Handpan-related gatherings worldwide.
What does "Soma" stand for?
SOMA (or Som) is a Sanskrit term used in the ancient Rig Veda. One passage describes it as follows:
"Som (good fruit containing food not any intoxicating drink)
apama (we drink you) amŕtā abhūmâ (you are elixir of life)
jyótir âganma (achieve physical strength or light of god)
ávidāma devân (achieve control over senses);
kíṃ nūnám asmân kṛṇavad árātiḥ (in this situation, what our internal enemy can do to me)
kím u dhūrtír amṛta mártyasya (god, what even violent people can do to me)"