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Topic: Stradivarius Unmasked

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  1. #1

    Stradivarius Unmasked

    The unique sounds of a Stradivarius violin may come down to the density of the wood it is made from.

    Scientists say the patterns of the grain are markedly different from modern instruments

    It is believed that the seasonal growth of trees in the early seventeenth century was affected by a mini-Ice Age.

    Stradivarius had the benefit of wood that was produced in conditions that have not been repeated since then, the journal Plos One reports.

    The work by a team from the Netherlands represents the latest finding in ongoing efforts to understand the sound quality of these violins. The musical instruments created in Cremona, Italy, by Antonio Stradivari in the early 1700s have acquired a matchless reputation for tone and clarity down the centuries.

    Around six hundred of the violins, violas, guitars and cellos made by the Italian master survive; on the rare occasion they come up for auction they sell for millions.

    There have been several suggestions as to why these instruments sound so good and why the modern world has thoroughly failed to replicate their quality.

    It was once argued that Stradivari and others used wood from ancient churches or that they added a mysterious ingredient to the wood or used techniques that have since been lost. But modern technology first developed to help people suffering from emphysema may have unlocked the riddle of these fiddles.

    More here

  2. #2

    Re: Stradivarius Unmasked

    As far as I have heard Stradivari was a poor and relatively unknown guy during his lifetime, so poor that he is known for even using wood from drawers for building instruments. Most violin makers that I have been talking to agree that it is neither the wood nor the varnish ... and he even worked relatively rough at some parts of the violin where it does not count so much. But obviously he knew exactly what he was doing at those places where it counts.

    However one should keep in mind that the name "Stradivarius" sells so good (and mind you, people are making really good money with it) that there are solid interests in building myths around the persion and his work. The name is a brand, and having a Strad makes a lot of reputation nowadays. However I know of several artists that own a Strad but more than often use a recently built copy in concert. So if somebody says it is not possible to build an equally beautiful instrument today this is simply not true.

    Another example is one favorite violinist of mine who sounded fantastic as long as he played a Guarneri. Then when he could afford a Strad he buyed one ... but I definetely liked him better before. However he kept the Strad, probably because of its status.

    So ... whenever I read the name "Stradivarius" I tend to take it with a grain of salt.
    All your strings belong to me!
    www.strings-on-demand.com

  3. #3

    Re: Stradivarius Unmasked

    The true secret of the Stradivarus' sound lies, unfortunately, in the manipulation of the marketplace. Says Fritz Reuter, violin maker and internationally acclaimed string instrument expert:

    http://www.fritz-reuter.com/reports/rin048.htm
    All your strings belong to me!
    www.strings-on-demand.com

  4. #4

    Re: Stradivarius Unmasked

    Stradivarius Unmasked? I'm betting he turns out to be Bruce Wayne. Or John Reid.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Re: Stradivarius Unmasked

    The musical instruments created in Cremona, Italy, by Antonio Stradivari in the early 1700s have acquired a matchless reputation for tone and clarity down the centuries.
    Not so, says Antonio's brother Harry Stradivari! Who actually was responsible for cutting down those trees and presenting his brother with the idea of making piano's out of them. Antonio rejected the idea and began to fiddle around with the wood thus stumbling upon his greatest achievement what we all know as the Stradivari violin. Naturally, Antonio being much younger than his brother Harry, had to be taught by Harry in the fine art of instrument making. It is said that Harry made over 500 violins, cello, tuba's, drum set (which by the way Harry also taught W.F.Ludwig the art of barrel making) and of course Harry's crown achievement, the wood euphonium. I believe Snorlak is the only man alive who owns a Harry Stradivari wood euphonium said to be crafted from the same trees of the same mini ice age.
    Well, being things what they were, the Stradivari brothers left Cramona Ramona (girlfriend not to be mistaken for the city) one early morning of spring and decided they've made enough string instruments and went on to American where they tried their hand at a spittoon factory making brass spittoons but were unsuccessful because they always turned out rather flat with a slight bulge and a hole in the center. However, little did they realize the had stumbled on what later became the Cymbal and sold their spittoon company to two other brothers who have since thrived on Harry Stradivari's so called reject spittoons.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member rwayland's Avatar
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    Re: Stradivarius Unmasked

    Quote Originally Posted by Hannes_F View Post
    The true secret of the Stradivarus' sound lies, unfortunately, in the manipulation of the marketplace. Says Fritz Reuter, violin maker and internationally acclaimed string instrument expert:
    Sounds like Arthur Rubinstein's comments about Bösendorfer pianos.

    Richard

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