Old masters no better than modern violin

11 April 2014
Posted by Chris Smith.

A "blind" test comparing six of the most prized violins in the world, including 5 made by Stradivari, with six modern-made instruments failed to show any sonic superiority among Violinthe celebrated instruments.

Writing in PNAS, Claudia Fritz, from CNRS in Paris, asked ten renowned soloists to try out the panel of instruments while blindfolded, then pick which one they would like to play for a hypothetical music tour.

Critically, the soloists played the instruments in a concert hall to ensure that the full sonic potential of the instruments could be experienced in the setting in which they were designed to be played.

Six of the ten soloists chose a new instrument. Moreover, none could discriminate the prize Stradivari instruments from the modern counterparts, adding further weight to the argument that, just as people judge higher priced wines to taste better, the price tag and the reputation is what makes the Stradivarius instruments so attractive, rather than any sonic characteristic...

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