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Disgrace of superlative violin ‘Stradivarius’

Posted May. 09, 2017 07:18,   

Updated May. 09, 2017 07:24

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Disgrace of superlative violin ‘Stradivarius’
Does superlative violin Stradivarius with the history of hundreds of years sound different from other modern instruments? Stradivarius, which was built by Antonio Stradivari in the 17th century, has been considered to have exquisite tone, high volume, and balanced sound in all ranges, helping to expand the sound. That is why it is to be deemed the finest across the world. However, it appears that both players and audience prefer the sound of modern violins, rather than Stradivarius.

A research team led by Claudia Fritz at Institut Jean Le Rond d’Alembert published blind test results of three Stradivarius and three other new violins on Monday at Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), an international scientific journal. Prof. Fritz said most participants failed to distinguish sounds of Stradivarius and new violins and answered that new violins have richer and better sound. The result appears to contradict a widely-accepted opinion that string instruments prove their real merits after 300 to 400 years. About 650 Stradivarius violins are remained across the world.

The research team tested the instruments at a concert hall with 300 seats in Paris and the one with 860 seats in New York and invited 55 and 82 respondents each. They are all deeply interested in classical music. To conduct the experiment, researchers selected two violins in random and surveyed on which instrument sounds better (articulation and tone) and of which sound spreads more clearly (acoustic reflection intensity). Lee Ji-ah, Susan Howe, Tatsuki Narita and four other violinists played the music. They wore an eye patch so that they were not able to distinguish the instruments as well.



kyungeun@donga.com