A professional musician since the age of twelve, Mark is a visionary artist with a background in nonlinear mathematics, sacred systems, and cosmology. As a classically trained bassist and sitar player, he gained extensive experience in orchestral and world music ensembles, jazz combos, and solo sitar performance. While studying North Indian classical music with the legendary sitar and surbahar master Ustad Imrat Khan (younger brother of Ustad Vilayat Khan), Mark began delving deeper into the universal fundamentals of music and its underlying frequency structures. This in turn led him to his quest to develop an instrument that could reproduce his findings. This work culminated in 1999 with Mark being awarded a US patent for his groundbreaking new instrument: Bazantar – a six-string acoustic bass fitted with an additional twenty-nine sympathetic strings and four drone strings. The result is a remarkable instrument that weaves a mesmerizing soundscape of resonance, and evokes all the power of Western classical music with the depth and nuance of Eastern traditions.
About The Bazantar
In the late 1980s, Mark Deutsch began exploring North Indian classical music. The subtlety of this style, combined with his pursuits on the sitar, inspired him to delve deeper into the study of music. He started exploring the mathematics of sound, particularly music’s underlying frequency structure. This search revealed nonlinear mathematical patterns that exist in sound and are found universally in the natural world, including the overtone series, fractals, the golden mean, seashells, and the Fibonacci series.
In 1993, Mark began work on the first prototype of the Bazantar, an acoustic bass with additional sympathetic and drone strings. His intent was to create an instrument that would take advantage of these nonlinear mathematical patterns and make them more consciously audible. The difficulty lay in engineering a design that would be able to withstand the tension of the additional strings. He devised the unique solution of constructing a separate housing that would contain both the sympathetic strings and their resultant tension, which would then be mounted onto the instrument. After much experimentation, a finalized version was completed in October of 1997.
In the finalized version, the drone strings are located outside the Bazantar’s lowest melody string on a bass bridge, which has been modified to support this configuration. The sympathetic strings are held in a modular graphite housing, positioned between the feet of the main bridge, and mounted at the bottom of the tailpiece and the base of the neck, underneath the fingerboard. The torque these strings create is contained within this housing. The stress to the instrument’s structure is greatly decreased, because none of the torque is transferred to the body, allowing for increased flexibility throughout the entire design. The Bazantar’s engineering strategy enables it to maintain more strings at higher tensions than conventional approaches dictate. This distinguishes its tonal character and contributes to its powerful and complex sound.