Tutorial on the Varzandeh-style Santur
Reza Varzandeh invented an original and brilliant new configuration
for the santur and the
mezrab, which because of the advantages and new capabilities they offer
to the santur player, logic may deduce that the
incidence of santur musicians adopting this new configuration should be
far greater than currently the case.
The Varzandeh-style santur offers the following primary distinctions
- It features 12 rows of notes or "kharrak" in contrast
to the conventional santur having 9-10,
which offers a greater range of tones and versatility to play more
- The sets of wooden structures suspending the
strings (the "kharrak" and "shaytanak") have
increased height, and thus, offer the ability to change
the pitch of the strings by lower-frictional modulation of the position of
the "kharrak". This negates the need for direct
manipulation of string tension or retuning (pictures of Varzandeh-style
santur below show the modulated positions of the kharraks)
- The increased height and length of the santur base platform
causes for a deeper, richer sound emanating from the santur.
- The incorporation of a thicker walnut wood frame and sheets making up
the santur base
platform and wooden reinforcement screws, help build the santur's resistance to temperature and
- By dedicating five strings to each note on the primary octave of
the santur (middle column of strings) instead of 4, the santur produces a more luscious,
dominant sound in its primary octave.
(replica of original):
Details on the assembly of the Varzandeh-style santur:
Approximate overall dimensions of the wood base
platform (trapezoidal wooden box): Height = 4.3", Width = 14",
Back-edge length = 43", Front-edge length = 18"
Approximate wood base platform component
thicknesses: Top face thickness = 4mm, Bottom face thickness =
6mm, base frame thickness = 1" (all four pieces have the same
Shaytanak height = 3/4"
Kharrak height on left row = 1.125", Kharrak height
on right row = 1"
The Varzandeh-style mezrab offers the following primary distinctions
- The straight wood handle of the mezrab (in comparison to the
conventional finger slotted mezrab) allows for the fingers to move
the mezrab. In using the conventional mezrab that constrains
movement of the fingers, motion is achieved by movement of the wrist
or arm, however, the achievable speed of the mezrabs can be greatly
increased when the fingers are utilized.
- The contour of the Varzandeh-style mezrab allows the santur
strings to be struck from shorter heights, which further accelerates the rate that the strings can be
- The use of pomegranate wood for construction of the Varzandeh-style
mezrab, in contrast to the conventional use of walnut wood, provides
greater springiness to the mezrab's mechanical behavior. This
characteristic enhances the sound emanating from the santur since the mezrab
has been designed specifically to "bounce up" from the strings
after being struck.
Details on the assembly of the Varzandeh-style mezrab:
Mezrab may be constructed from pomegranate or pear
Total length of mezrab is approximately 10"
Approximate mezrab handle dimensions: thickness =
2mm, width = 8mm
Approximate mezrab head dimensions: overall width =
2.2", thickness = 3mm