Modern violins beat Stradivarius-made instruments in a blind test
Tuesday 08 April 2014
Modern violins have beaten Stradivarius-made instruments worth millions in a blind test involving 10 world-class soloists.
The musicians were asked to rate the instruments for sound and playability among other factors and then choose on that they would want to use on a tour.
Strads, as they are known, were made by the famous Stradivari family in Italy in the 17 and 18 century and are widely regarded as the best violins.
The study, by violin maker Joseph Curtin and acoustics expert Claudia Fritz, of Pierre and Marie Curie University in France, was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal on Monday.
The researcher decided not to reveal the makes of the new violins to avoid appearing as if they were making an advert.
But the most popular and second best violins were both modern instruments. The musicians were also asked to say whether they were playing a new or old violin. They did so successfully 31 times, but were wrong 33 times.
American violinist Giora Schmidt said: “I was surprised that my top choice was new. Studying music and violin in particular, it's almost ingrained in your thinking that the most successful violinists on the concert stage have always played old Italian instruments.
"I said kiddingly to them I will write you a cheque for this fiddle right now.”
Canadian soloist Susanne Hou, who plays a borrowed, 269-year-old Guarneri del Gesu violin, picked the same, new violin. “Whatever this is I would like to buy it,” she said. “There are certain things you can't explain when you fall in love.”
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling