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Max ZT - Francois Bisi - 5_edited.jpg


Please find assets related to my application to Princeton’s PhD Music Composition Program. In addition to my audio samples, I am also including my Resume/CV, as well as sample diagrams for how the hammered dulcimer is arranged. Though not common within the hammered dulcimer community,

I believe it is best to perceive the instrument as starting with E Major, and ascending through the circle of 4ths. The placement of each scale's inversions can inform melody, improvisation, harmony, sticking, and composition in general. Having a fluency in this language has been a key tool in my artistic and creative development. 


AvalochHouse of Waters
00:00 / 06:06

Composed at the Avaloch Farm Music Institute in Boscowan, NH, Avaloch reflects the practical application of techniques meticulously cultivated in Senegal. It intertwines rhythmic and melodic ambidextrous independence

with a nuanced understanding of the dulcimer’s chord inversions and geographic positions. Avaloch stands as a testament to the seamless integration of these musical elements, exemplifying a fluency in navigating technique with composition.


Dedicated to the memory of my esteemed friend, the late film director

Prashant Bhargava, Kites, embodies the essence of wind, loss, and liberation.

Rooted in F Lydian and later conversing in a parallel melody/response in a 

mirrored geographic region of the instrument, namely G Lydian, Kites employs rhythmic subdivisions as a transitional device between various time signatures and scales. This piece, like Avaloch, underscores a commitment to musical fluency, demonstrating an adept navigation of technique within the realm of composition.


DaybreakMax ZT
00:00 / 04:36

In 2022, I released my debut solo album Daybreak (Six Degrees Records). Recorded during the peak of the pandemic, this fully improvised album was recorded in a single take on a single microphone and is meant to be equal parts music and medicine. Utilizing silence and patience as tools for introspection within my improvisation, I attempted to create a listening experience that would engage without distracting from the moment. 


StillHouse of Waters
00:00 / 07:56

Dedicated to my teacher, the late great santoor maestro - Pandit Shivkumar Sharma - Still is centered around the Indian Classical Raga Mishra Kirwani.

Utilizing the #4 interval as a dissonant note within the initial D harmonic minor scale, and then as a transitionary tool to the piece’s new tonal center, Still is meant to evoke the patience, reflection, and introspection of Panditji’s teachings, while using the play on words to contend that his teachings, spirit, and music still remain.


17House of Waters
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Exploring different ways on feeling 17/8, and focusing on ensemble interplay, 17 is a great example of the utilization of odd-meter rhythms. During my study with Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, I became obsessed with the effects of odd-meter rhythms, especially when cadence, anticipation, and syncopation were present. With 17, we also extend these metric modulations to the placement of our chord changes resulting in a dizzying display of virtuosity.



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KitesHouse of Waters
00:00 / 08:07
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