The Double Seconds and Double Tenors are the most versatile of all the steel drum voices. The two and one half octave range provides plenty of register to play chords, counter melodies and melodies.
Double Seconds are laid out in a “whole-tone” arrangement. Essentially this means that a chromatic scale on the instrument is played by alternately playing notes from the left and right drums. A feature of this arrangement is that a diatonic major scale almost always requires three consecutive notes from one drum, four notes from the other, and then one last note from the first drum (or some small variation on this pattern).
Double Second Note Layout
The advantage to this layout is that the notes can be “synchronized”. Notes on the left drum are a semi-tone higher than notes in the same position on the right drum.
On the other hand, Double Tenors are laid out using an arrangement whereby diatonic major scales are played by alternately playing notes from the left and right drums, but chromatic scales require two notes from the left drum followed by two notes from the right drum followed by two notes from the left drum and so on.