Scientist Thinks He Knows Why Stradivari Violins Sound The Best

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Peter Kline, Dec 1, 2003.

  1. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    Secret ingredient in Stradivari may be heaven sent
    By Duncan Mansfield, Associated Press

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The secret of a Stradivarius violin's heavenly sound may actually have celestial origins.

    For centuries, experts have debated whether special varnishes or wood treatments were the secret to the instruments' rich resonance, which some consider superior to contemporary violins.

    Now a tree-ring dating expert at the University of Tennessee and a climatologist at Columbia University offer a new theory — the wood developed special acoustic properties as it was growing because of an extended period of long winters and cool summers.

    "It just amazed me that no one had thought of this before," said Dr. Henri Grissino-Mayer. "The relationship between the violins, the trees that they were made from, the climate that existed when the trees grew and how it affected wood density to create a superior tonal quality.

    Complete story here.
     
  2. Paul_Sjordal

    Paul_Sjordal Supporting Actor

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    Except for one thing. If this were the explanation, then all violins made in that time period would have the same quality.

    Besides, didn't someone already closely duplicate the quality of Stradivarius' work by some trick with the wood grain?
     
  3. Mike Lenthol

    Mike Lenthol Second Unit

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    Does the Stradivarius sound better if you raise the musician a few inches from the floor on an excessively expensive pedestal?[​IMG]
     
  4. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Does the Stradivarius sound better if you raise the musician a few inches from the floor on an excessively expensive pedestal?

    Well, he or she would then need a static line to the floor.
     
  5. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    The stradivarius theory I am familiar with is that the wood the instruments were made from was actually several centuries old when the instruments were produced. Supposedly mr. Stradivarius took his wood from the support timbres of old medieval fortifications. Somehow the strain of centuries of being used as a floor support caused the wood to somehow have a different sonic signature.
    The theory was created by a soldier who took a piece of french medieval woodwork home as a WW2 souvenier and had it custom made into a violin. The violin supposedly sounded nearly identical to a stradivarius.

    I read this in Popular Science not too long ago. If i could remember specifics I would tell you, But I read the magazine at a Jiffy Lube.
     
  6. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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    Nearly identical is a "no cigar result." The Strad does have a unique sound that has never been duplicated. It's a combination of many things, including the actual making of the instrument. No modern instrument quite gets to the summit. But, violin makers continue to try.
     
  7. Eric Kahn

    Eric Kahn Guest

    there are Stradivarius copies that sound almost identical
    a few years back, someone finally took a series of cat scans of a Stradivarius violin and then carved and identical copy, that is one of the secrets, the front and back of a Stradivarius are carved out, not formed from thin wood

    I saw a show about it years ago, his copies are about $20,000 dollars
     
  8. Josh Simpson

    Josh Simpson Supporting Actor

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    How many known Stradivari violins are actually known to exist today?
     
  9. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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