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Miracle in Cremona? The science behind Stradivarius

By on Mar 22, 2017 in Music | 2 comments

An aura of unattainable perfection surrounds the violins created by Cremonese luthiers, particularly those made by Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri ‘del Gesù.’ For many, the Golden Age of violin making (1550-1750) represents an unsurpassed pinnacle. Almost all of the most acclaimed soloists have played on these historical instruments, and still, no objective study permits to establish their supposed tonal superiority over modern ones. Authentication of old Italian violins does not take the quality of their sound into account, relying instead on other parameters (visual inspection, historical research of the instrument, the dating of the wood, etc.). Correlating their performance with specific attributes is not only important for historical reasons but also to guide further improvements in the construction of violins. Recently, Fritz and collaborators decided to test...