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

13. Blending

The blending is the final part of the tuning and it is done after the finishing. Blending means that the pitch, the timbre and the loudness of the various notes are adjusted. Sometimes this is done together with other pans of the same band, to get the pans to sound good together - to "blend" well. The main part of the blending is the adjustment of timbre, but the tuner also tries to adjust the loudness of the different notes. This is done to make it easier to play balanced and not to out-power each other while playing in an ensemble.


Fig. 13.1 Blending a chromed pan.

The technique for blending is exactly the same as for the fine tuning. The pitch and the timbre of the notes are tuned in octave pairs, using the same regions for adjustments. The first step of the blending is usually a brief fine tuning. The chroming has covered the surface with a thin layer of chromium that makes the metal thicker and heavier. The increased weight of the notes affects the pitch. The fine tuning of the pitch is often included in the adjustment of the octaves described below.

The next step of the blending is to fine-tune the octaves of the notes to make them match the fundamental. This was first done during the fine tuning, but the altered weight of the notes after the chroming has also affected the partials of the note, so now they need to be adjusted again.

Start the octave blending with the highest note of an octave pair. Make sure that the fundamental and the octave of this note are in perfect pitch. This may be a little difficult to do if the lower note is out of tune, because its octave will interfere with the higher note. When a higher note is properly tuned it will help the tuning of the lower one, as the octave mode of the lower note acts together with the fundamental of the higher one.

The blending, like everything else in pan tuning, has to be done in a circular step-wise process as blending of one note may affect the surrounding ones.