The Prometheus of Pan - Dr. Anthony Williams - by Garvin Blake

 Global - Anthony Williams died on Tuesday, December 21st, leaving behind an unmatched legacy. Tony helped shape every aspect of the modern steelband. For me, and countless others, his passing was personal.

The first pan I ever played was a Tony Williams spiderweb tenor pan my cousin David Maunday, a member of North Stars, had in my yard in Belmont. I was mesmerized by the instrument. It seemed to have a hundred notes, with big notes next to small notes, going round and round, up and down.

The legendary Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams

It would be years before I realized I was playing an instrument laid out in the cycle of fifths, a scientific organization of pitches dating back to the sixth century BC that’s fundamental to western tonal music.

Tony didn’t read about this harmonic relationship in a music theory book. He used his own ingenious mathematical method to arrive at the cycle. Tenor pans with this note placement are now the most widely played instrument in the steel pan family.

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Led by the legendary Anthony Williams, North Steel Orchestra performs on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964.


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