Mateus Emilio Batista : 4 stick man

I have been playing steel-drums (pan) for nineteen years.

The technique I use, requires playing with four sticks: like the vibraphone... But since the vibraphone is linear, the round pan requires a continuous search for different techniques and angles for playing, and reaching notes and chords.

This way of playing requires full body articulation. The richness and the infinite possibilities that arises from playing with four sticks, go hand in hand with huge technical difficulties. High notes need softer touch than low notes and on top of this rhythm and dynamics of music have their own requirements adding to the technical challenge. One has to plays independent rhythms, dynamics and lengths of notes with every stick in each hand: four independent lines.

Playing "four sticks technique" is no necessity: in steel-bands - due to the amount of players - we see a much more simple approach to technical requirements. But I believe that the "four sticks-technique" is a way for the solo artist to unleash the sheer richness and opulence of the music, giving it depth and meaning.

Mateus Emilio Batista

Since it is still a relatively new instrument there is as yet no technical methodology for it. Every pan player develops his own individual style and way of playing, which leads to many potential techniques. We are experiencing the initial chaos of the development of a new instrument...

My criteria in choosing different approaches in technique, is, that it works: that it rings! Dedicated to be one of the best, I do realise that pan played with four sticks still awaits its virtuosi.