Fiddling Around with Craftsmanship: Is a New Strativarius on the Horizon?

Can today's technology recreate the time-honored craftsmanship of a Strativarius violin? Researchers are tyring to find out.
What makes a Stradivarius violin sing so sweetly?

A couple of Swedish researchers are hoping to figure that out using some advanced mathematical formulas with a goal of eventually being able to make duplicates of the treasured musical instruments. They’re beginning a two-year study of the famous instruments using computer models and high-end math.

But can technology figure out how to duplicate old-time craftsmanship? Many musicians believe that the old instruments have their unique sound because their wood has aged since they were made nearly 300 years ago. Their unique sound may also have something to do with the stains and finishes from that time that were applied to the wood.

About 600 Stradivarius violins remain out of the more than 1,100 originals. And they’re known for more than just their sound quality. They can fetch some pretty high price tags. Last year, one sold for just over $2 million at an auction in New York City, the most money every paid for a musical instrument.

What do you think? Is this a good way to apply technology of the 21st Century?

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

What better thing is there to do with technology than preserve the thoughts and sounds of the past. 1000 years from now there probally won't be an Stradivarius violins that are playable. But you may still be able to compose new music and find out what it would sound like if it were to be played on the on of the greatest violins ever created.

posted on Fri, 04/28/2006 - 12:27pm
Angie's picture
Angie says:

I heard a sermon this morning by a minister who said that Strativarius was a poor man who lived near a harbor. The water in the harbor was very dirty and brackish. Stativarius would pull pieces of wood from the dirty harbor water and let them dry. Later he made violins. Scientists have theroried that worms in the wood made hollow chambers that helped to produce the unique sound of the strativarius violin. Sounds logical to me. Angie

posted on Sun, 12/16/2007 - 2:45pm
Deana's picture
Deana says:

Perfection. That is what the name Strativarius conveys to me. Aren't we lucky to live at a time where we are still able to appreciate one of these unique instraments? As a society, we have made many advances. Weren't we just the clever ones to develop something so powerful as the Atom Bomb? What a shame humanity spends so much of it's time, energy and wisdom creating something so devestating, when we could spend the same time, energy and wisdom to create something to enhance not only our lives but the lives of our children's children as well! I have a 9 year old daughter that is very gifted with the violin. Of course I would love to see the instrament created that could replicate the sound of a Strativarius! What a wonderful gift for us o leave to the next generation!


posted on Sun, 03/02/2008 - 8:50am
Peter Wan's picture
Peter Wan says:

Once I had my soundpost snapped off by the fallen bridge on my Germany made violin. Since then the quality of the sound changed even after the sound post is restored. We need advance technology to give us instrument that can withstand weathering or even unintended mechanical abuse. I also know the violin makers are running out of good wood because forests are disappearing. I strongly support pioneers who experiment violin making using space age material like graphite. We need to go beyond the limit of Stradivarius. We are in the 21st century now.

posted on Mon, 06/22/2009 - 2:05am

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