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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)
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« on: July 02, 2008, 01:19:47 pm »


In 1660, Antonio set up shop on his own in Cremona, though his early violins are generally considered inferior to those of his "golden age", between 1698 and 1720. While his techniques have long been fertile soil for debate, still not fully understood by modern craftsmen and scientists, it is known for certain that the wood used included spruce for the harmonic top, willow for the internal parts and
maple for the back, strip and neck. This wood was treated with several types of minerals, including potassium borate (borax), sodium and potassium silicate, and vernice bianca, a varnish composed of Arabic gum, honey and egg white.

A Stradivarius made in the 1680s, or during Stradivari's Brescian period from 1690-1700, could be
worth several hundred thousand dollars or more on auction, at today's prices. Depending on condition, instruments made during Stradivari's "golden period" from 1700 to 1720 can be worth several million dollars.

Though relatively rarely sold, the highest publicised price paid was at public auction for The Hammer, made in 1707, selling for US $3,544,000 on May 16, 2006. Private sales of Stradivari instruments have exceeded this price.

It is not uncommon for violins to be labeled or branded "Stradivarius", as the name has been used
since by other manufacturers. However, it is generally believed that there are fewer than 700 genuine instruments extant, very few of which are unaccounted for.

The fame of Stradivari instruments is not a modern phenomenon and they appear in numerous works
of fiction:

The fictional detective Sherlock Holmes is described as having owned a Stradivarius, with detail given
to how he purchased the instrument for fifty-five English shillings in the story The Adventure of the Cardboard Box.

A famous, if perhaps apocryphal story about the Duport Stradivarius claims the instrument's visible dent was made by the boots of Emperor Napoléon I of France, who tried his hand
at playing it.

One aspect of Stradivari's approach is illustrated in the BBC TV series 'Lovejoy', in the episode
"Second Fiddle", which notes that, while one would expect the 'f'-holes on the top of a violin to
be symmetrical, Stradivari often made his slightly offset.

The show credits this to him being less of a perfectionist than tradition holds, but, if true, it more
likely demonstrates an aural perfectionism preferred over the visual aesthetic.

The reputation of the Stradivarius is such that its name is frequently invoked as a standard of excellence in other unrelated fields (such as ships and cars); for example, the Bath Iron Works'
unofficial motto is

                                    "A Bath boat is the Stradivarius of destroyers!"

In 1924, The Vincent Bach Corporation began releasing a line of trumpets which would later become known as Stradivarius Trumpets, in an attempt to capitalise on the Stradivari name.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2008, 09:01:31 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.

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