Comparing violins, vintage and new

Posted on: May 9, 2017

“In 2012, Claudia Fritz from Sorbonne University packed a small concert hall near Paris with 55 volunteers from the violin world, including musicians, violin makers, music critics, composers, and more,” writes Ed Yong in Monday’s (5/9) The Atlantic. “She asked seven internationally renowned soloists to play six violins. Three of these were new. The other three were Stradivarius violins, built by Italian craftsman Antonio Stradivari during the 17th and 18th centuries…. Without knowing beforehand which instrument was which, [listeners] couldn’t tell the difference between the Strads and the new violins.… When Fritz repeated the experiment with 82 other listeners at a different venue in New York, they came to the same conclusion. The results of this experiment, published today, mark the third paper in which Fritz and colleagues have looked at the acoustic secrets of Stradivarius violins—and found that there isn’t one. They are exquisite pieces of art and they sound great, but neither violinists nor listeners can distinguish their mythical sound from that of newer violins. ‘If players feel better because they’re playing a Strad and they like it, then fine!’ says Fritz. ‘But I want young people who don’t have money to know that they could play as well on another instrument.’ ”

Posted May 9, 2017