The Sydney Morning Herald reports on experiment conducted by a researcher at the University of Paris which casts doubt on the superior qualities of violins made by the Italian masters.
At the proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences, Professor Claudia Fritz and her colleagues reported on their double blinded trial in which 21 violinists attending a conference were asked to rank three newly made and three old violins made by Stradivarius and Guarneri del Gesu. The results could surprise you!
Undoubtedly, a sample size of 21 is relatively small. Individual variations amongst the violinists and the instruments would be well nigh impossible to standardise. To what extent can these findings be extrapolated? It remains to be seen whether these outcomes will create any waves in the value of the market and insurance value of master crafted violins.
Violin making is an art. Professor Fritz has attempted to bring scientific rigour to evaluating what has previously been in the realm of the subjective. Her research may well lead to substantial beliefs being dispelled.
Read the abstract from the proceedings at the US National Academy of Sciences: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/01/02/1114999109.abstract