What will the day bring - Andreas Koller - street musician

What will the day bring - Andreas Koller - street musician

A gathering of people initiated the first encounter with Andreas. Just when you got closer the reason for the crowd become clear, because almost shyly, at least compared to the big stages of the Grenzenlos Festival, the soft tones of an instrument could be heard here that enchanted the people.

All the hustle and bustle was gone, peace and serenity on everyone's faces all around. Can a single musician fascinate so much with the help of an inconspicuous instrument? He can, as we should find out more often in the coming days, because this group formation was to be found everywhere as soon as his hang sounded.

Andreas Koller plays his handpan (Hang)

andreas koller 1It was once a completely normal life that brought Andreas to his studies. Then the encounter with the musical instrument that would completely change his life. This magic instrument, which partly resembles a steel pan, can still be described as "virginal" because it was only "invented" in 2000 by Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer in Bern, Switzerland. It consists of two hemispherical segments glued together and made of gas-nitrated sheet steel. On the upper half-shell there are sound fields that have been hammered into the sheet metal.

Andreas Koller plays his hang with fingers and hands, which he holds horizontally on his lap. The naming can also be traced back to the way it was played, because in the Swiss Bern German "Hang" stands for hand. The two half-shells of the Hang form a hollow vessel with a diameter of 52 cm and a height of 24 cm. On its upper side, seven or eight sound fields are arranged in a circle around a central sound zone, the thing. Opposite, in the middle of the lower half bowl, is the Gu, a hand-sized, round resonance opening with the neck pulled inwards.

andreas koller 2The ding is the central sound of the instrument and is usually tuned a fifth or fourth below the lowest note of the sound circle. Consisting of a flattened area with an outwardly curved central dome, it gives the Hang Gong-like characteristics. The elliptical sound fields of the sound ring, which is also called the choir, have the shape of a flat hyperbolic paraboloid. At its center is a likewise elliptical, inward-facing dome. Three partial tones are tuned into each sound field: the fundamental, the octave and the twelfth.

Together with the Gu, the cavity of the Hang forms a Helmholtz resonator in which the air vibrates at a specific frequency and generates a bass tone that can be lowered by up to an octave by narrowing the Gu opening. The Hang player stimulates the Helmholtz resonance with a muted touch of the Ding, with the wrist in the area between the Ding and the sound fields, or with the palm of the hand on the Gu.

“Zones of Harmonic Order” embedded in the palm of the hand

andreas koller 3In contrast to the steel pan, whose playing surface is processed in such a way that the individual sound fields influence each other as little as possible, the tuning of the Hang is designed to be integrated into an overall sound. If the thing or individual sound fields are stimulated, other sound fields and the Helmholtz resonance of the corpus also vibrate - according to the respective harmonic relationship. The slope builders therefore also speak of the tone fields as "zones of harmonic order" that are embedded in the slope surface.

Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer have repeatedly pointed out that the hang should not be misunderstood as a drum: "We don't build any percussion instruments, no handpans and no hang drums either. Drumming is a different language.” They also oppose the use of mallets. As with hitting the hand too hard, there is a risk of detuning the hang. Rather, what is required is a sensitive dosing of energy with the hands of the hang player, touching, tapping, stimulating, lightly hitting, stroking and plucking the surface of the slope. Stronger frontal hitting does not intensify the sound like a drum, but narrows and distorts it.

The basis of the Hangspiel is the integration of Gu and Ding into an overall sound. It is achieved by changing the angle of the leg (when the Hang is held horizontally on the lap) or by inserting a hand into the Gu opening (when the Hang is held upright). The Helmholtz resonance of the vessel is then exactly one octave below the frequency of the thing. This acoustic coupling of Ding and Gu brings the Hang into a state of resonance, which enables the Hang player to shape the sound with the finest suggestions.

It was actually the fascination of this instrument that made Andreas give up his entire life and devote himself to playing the Hang. First of all, however, a few problems had to be overcome, because a Hang is not that easy to obtain, at least not in the music shop around the corner. He was finally able to acquire his Hang, which he affectionately calls "The Bowl" in Dortmund. Then the real work began, learning to play! But once you've found your purpose, as they say, it's ultimately only a matter of time.

"German-Turkish Literature and Friendship Festival Regensburg"

andreas koller 4And so today Andreas is not only able to present his repertoire as a soloist, he also shows his skills on the slope in cooperation with other solo musicians. At least we enjoyed watching him again and again and listening to the sound of his instrument. On top of that, he's a really remarkably kind person. We were able to have some really in-depth discussions with each other and ultimately also tell Andreas about our other project ideas. So we hope to meet in October for the "German-Turkish Literature and Friendship Festival Regensburg" from October 16th to 19th in the house of the Evangelisches Bildungswerk.

When our friend and supporter Chris and his band from Regensburg called "More Need Ned" came to our project vehicle after his performance on Saturday, Andreas showed up just a little later. The rest of the band was quickly informed and Andreas was able to demonstrate a little of his skills. Again so convincing that the invitation to Regensburg was repeated several times. There might also be a session between the street musician Andreas and one of our friend Chris's semi-professional bands. You can look forward to it.

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Life | Outdoors