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Wood Density Key To Stradivarius' Sweet Sound - BIOGRAPHY

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Author Topic: Wood Density Key To Stradivarius' Sweet Sound - BIOGRAPHY  (Read 11913 times)
Bianca
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« on: January 24, 2009, 08:02:14 am »










                                          Secrets of Stradivari cracked



                             Anti- worm chemicals 'gave violins their unique sound'






 (ANSA)
- Rome,
January 23, 2009

- Researchers from the United States claim to have cracked the riddle of why Italian-made Stradivari and Guarneri violins have a distinctive sound.

Joseph Nagyvary, a biochemist at Texas A&M University, believes that wood-preserving chemicals are responsible for the 18th-century instruments' unique sound - explaining why subsequent generations of violin-makers have never been able to recreate the famous violins from natural wood.

The violin-makers would have used the potion to protect the wood from being eaten by worms, but it had a ''collateral effect'', according to Nagyvary.

''It influenced the mechanical and acoustic properties of the wood, conferring on the instruments a sound without equal,'' he said.

Nagyvary's team published the theory in Nature three years ago after a preliminary analysis of slivers of wood obtained from restorers working on the instruments.

But in new research published in the journal Public Library of Science, the team has succeeded in identifying the special chemical cocktail used on the instruments by burning the wood slivers and analysing the ashes.

Borax, fluorides, chromium and iron salts form the base of the wood-preserving mixture.

''Borax has a long history as a conserver - the ancient Egyptians used it for mummification,'' said Nagyvary, who has been working on his theory for over 30 years since learning to play the violin on an instrument once belonging to Albert Einstein.

The researchers believe the discovery could lead to changes in the practice of modern violinmakers.

Some 600 of the 1,000 violins thought to have been crafted by Antonio Stradivari still exist, each valued at around five million dollars.

Around 140 violins survive by Stradivari's rival, Bartolomeo Guarneri (del Gesu'), and are valued at the same amount. 
« Last Edit: January 24, 2009, 08:02:45 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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