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Steelpans (also known as steel drums or pans, and sometimes, collectively with other musicians, as a steel band or orchestra) is a musical instrument originating from Trinidad and Tobago. Steel pan musicians are called pannists.
The modern pan is a chromatically pitched percussion instrument made from 55 gallon industrial drums that formerly contained chemicals.
Drum refers to the steel drum containers from which the pans are made; the steel drum is more correctly called a steel pan or pan as it falls into the idiophone family of instruments, and so is not a drum (which is a membranophone). Steel pans are the only instruments made to play in the Pythagorian musical cycle of fourths and fifths.
The pan is struck using a pair of straight sticks tipped with rubber; the size and type of rubber tip varies according to the class of pan being played. Some musicians use four pansticks, holding two in each hand. This skill and performance have been conclusively shown to have grown out of Trinidad and Tobago"s early 20th-century Carnival percussion groups known as Tamboo bamboo. The pan is the national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago.
French planters and their slaves emigrated to Trinidad during the French Revolution (1789) from Martinique, including a number of West Africans, and French creoles from Saint Vincent, Grenada, Saint Lucia and Dominica, establishing a local community before Trinidad and Tobago were taken from Spain by the British. The celebration of carnivale had arrived with the French. Slaves, who could not take part in carnival, formed their own, parallel celebration called canboulay.
Stick-fighting and African percussion music were banned in 1880, in response to the Canboulay Riots. They