steel band

steel band

A steel band is a West Indian band whose instruments are made out of oil drums called pans (see steel pan). The top of each drum is hammered into panels to make different pitches. Typically, a steel band will have between four and 10 players. Steel-pan music is organized into melody and countermelody, played by a tenor, double tenor, and double second pans; harmony and chord strums plated by cello and guitar pans; and bass parts played on bass pans. Lower pans are played in sets of two or more.


Steel bands commonly include a rhythm section, or "engine room", which includes a drum kit, congas, and other instruments made from found materials such as a metal scratcher and a percussion iron – a metal disk that was originally the brake drum of a vehicle.