Quadraphonic Steel Drum
he instruments in a steel band are usually called pans. They are identified by the register in which they are tuned, for example, tenor pan and bass pan.
The steel drum is a recent invention, whose potential was discovered by Stree Simons in Trinidad in 1939. One end of an oil drum is hammered into a concave shape on which the position of the notes are grooved according to a set design and size.
The diameter and depth of the note determine its pitch. The register (for example, tenor, alto or bass) is determined by the length of the drum-barrel, which is cut accordingly; an uncut barrel will produce a bass drum.
A native of Trinidad, Earle Wong began playing steel drums at the age of twelve. After moving to Canada in 1968, he quickly earned recognition as a talented musician and organized Toronto's first steel band. Over the years, he has also become a master of the art of building and tuning steel drums - a traditional role for the head of a steel band, who usually makes and tunes his group's instruments. (Tuning a steel drum is the most complex, delicate step in making the instrument.) Earle Wong has participated in numerous workshops across Canada to share his expertise. He receives orders from across Canada and the United States, and has made drums for the Toronto Board of Education.