Scientists Test If Older Violins Are Really Better
In 2011, a violin was sold for $15.9 million (W18.48 billion). Some of the world’s most expensive violins were made by two Italian violin makers, Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri, who lived during the late 1600s and early 1700s, the golden age of violinmaking. Many researchers have tried to find out where their sounds come from. Although details like the wood, chemicals used to treat the wood, or the protective varnish applied could affect the violins’ sound, some claim that these famous violins are just like the ones made by other craftsmen in some ways. Claudia Fritz, an expert in musical acoustics from France, conducted a series of research studies. Fritz made some musicians play both the new violins and old ones while wearing goggles in a dim place so that they couldn’t see the instrument. When they were asked which one they would take home, they preferred the Stradivarius the least, and only four out of 10 listeners chose one of the old Italian instruments. Still, it doesn’t seem likely that professional musicians will give up on getting their hands on older and more expensive instruments.
Hanna Jeong Staff Reporter
1. When was the golden age of violinmaking?
2. Who are the two Italian violin makers with the most expensive violins in the world?
3. What were the results from Claudia Fritz' research?
1. Why do you think professional musicians desire older instruments?
2. Do you think it makes sense for certain violins to cost millions of dollars?
3. If you were a violinist, would you prefer a violin with history or good sound quality?
4. Should musicians sacrifice sound quality for the opportunity to play older instruments?