Two Swedish researchers are hoping to unravel the secrets behind the unique sound of a Stradivarius violin, an acoustic mystery that has enthralled music lovers and perplexed scientists for centuries.
Mats Tinnsten and Peter Carlsson of the Mid-Sweden University in the northern city of Ostersund are using computer models to analyse the instruments created by the Italian luthier Antoni Stradivari some 300 years ago. Their goal is to build a replica with the same acoustic properties as Stradivari's violins.
"We feel we are well under way," Mr Tinnsten said. "We hope it will be possible to play a Stradivarius duplicate within a couple of years."
Stradivari built more than 1,100 violins in Cremona, Italy, and about 600 survive.
The researchers are applying mathematical formulas to determine how to design a violin that sounds like a Stradivarius.
However, experts said using the scientific findings to build the instrument would require finding the right materials. Some suggest the secret of the violins' rich resonance lies in the age of the wood or special varnishes or wood treatments. It would also require the deft touch of a skilful craftsman. "There are so many parameters involved that it will be very difficult to put the computer findings into practice," said Roland Nilsson, a violin builder in Malmo in southern Sweden.
A Stradivarius violin was sold at Christie's auction house in New York last year for just over $2m (£1.1m).Reuse content