Hot Pans - Stockholm Steelband
© Ulf Kronman, The Pan Page. Publisher: Musikmuseet, Stockholm, Sweden.

Double Tenor (Alto)

The double tenor pan has a tonal range of two and a half octaves, distributed over two drums with 15-17 notes in each. The layout of the double tenor pan seems to consider playing convenience and tonal range more than acoustical matters. Since the notes are separated by a double groove there might be less need for a harmonic arrangement of the notes than in other steel pan models.

The regular Trinidadian way to hang the double tenor is to use two stands with their supporting arms in line with each other. This has the advantage that double tenors and tenors can be used in the same stands in the steelband set-ups. But it will also mean that both drums will hang at a slight angle, tilted with the back end lower. If you want to play fast this will be a disadvantage, because you have to lift your hands rather high when you move them from one drum to another.

To speed up the playing Rudy Smith and other solo players have turned their stands with the supporting arms almost in parallel with each other. In this way the drums will be tilted towards the point between the drums where the player is standing. Thus the lowest part will be facing the place where you want to move the sticks between the drums while playing. This will presumably be a more common styling in the future. Therefore, the pan shown in the layout figure is a regular (as far as I know) Trinidad double tenor, but it is rotated according to Rudy Smith styling for ease in playing.

Overview of the Double Tenor pan

Special crafting techniques

The notes on a regular Trinidad double tenor are separated by two grooves at a distance of 10 mm. According to some tuners there is no need for this nowadays; they are just there for good "looks". Presumably, there was an acoustic need for them earlier, and then people got used to the look. If this extra distance was to be removed, even more notes could be packed into the double tenor pan. This is presumably what will happen in the future.

The straight inner border of the outer notes on a double tenor in Trinidad style also seems to be just for "looks". The acoustically active dent is shaped in the same way as for the rest of the pans. Making this inner border rounded would presumably make the pan easier to tune and reduce the acoustic interference between the notes.

Measures for the Double Tenor pan

The measured double tenor pan was made by Rudy Smith in 1988. (Smiths left hand set-up was converted to Trinidad right hand style according to tuner Lawrence Mayers.) The measured pan had the inner borders of the outer notes rounded off in the same way as double seconds, etc. The normal distance between the grooves of adjacent notes in the outer ring is 10 mm.

Notes

Drum

Groove

Number
of notes

Tonal Range

Depth of playing
surface [mm]

Length of
side [mm]

Hole pos.
from rim [mm]

Width [mm]

Radial length [mm]

End from rim [mm]

32

F3-C6

180-195

240

50

2 * 6

130

50

Note

Position

Radial length

Tangential length

Length along rim

F3

Outer left

155

230

270

F#3

Outer left

155

230

265

G3

Outer right

150

225

270

G#3

Outer left

150

225

255

A3

Outer left

150

220

255

Bb3

Outer right

147

210

235

B3

Outer right

145

200

230

C4

Outer left

150

200

225

C#4

Outer left

150

195

215

D4

Outer right

147

187

210

D#4

Outer right

140

175

205

E4

Outer right

147

175

200

F4

Outer left

145

170

185

F#4

Outer right

140

165

185

G4

Middle right

145

103

G#4

Middle left

140

103

A4

Middle left

139

97

Bb4

Outer right

140

120

150

B4

Middle right

125

90

C5

Middle left

115

90

C#5

Middle left

111

85

D5

Middle right

110

84

D#5

Middle right

105

80

E5

Middle right

97

77

F5

Middle left

96

74

F#5

Middle right

95

72

G5

Inner right

85

65

G#5

Middle left

82

63

A5

Middle left

75

58

Bb5

Middle right

73

60

B5

Inner right

71

55

C6

Inner left

65

55