File photo of the Ames Stradivarius stolen from violinist Roman Totenberg in 1980. The result is in 2015. (FBI via AP)
For hundreds of years, the violins of Antonio Stradivari are considered to be the best in the world, which is the retrieval of millions of dollars. The only other instruments are competing for the title were created by a man by the name of Giuseppe Guarneri, who toiled away in his workshop in the same northern Italian city of Cremona, at the same time.
Many theories have been spun over the years to explain why the instruments made by these masters to produce a sound that cannot be replicated. A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that it all comes down to the wood, a good bath and a lot of time.
When Taiwanese researchers analyzed bits of maple from four violins and a cello by Stradivarius and a violin of Guarneri, they discovered a lost art. The instrument-makers, or luthiers, used wood soaked in a bath with hot spring water to prevent rot that is effective is changed.
“This type of chemical spices was an unusual practice … unknown to later generations of violin makers,” they write, according to the Washington Post. It is likely, however, that the wood was soaked by those who for the first time collected from the forest, not the luthiers, to protect it for the sale, the comments of the New York Times.
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The result is that the maple used in violins of old has different chemical properties of the maple in the modern instruments. Add three centuries of the ageing population and the effect of high-frequency vibrations of all that play and maybe you have the recipe for a masterpiece.
Skeptics still not convinced. Two British scientists writing in the Conversation called a “halo effect” around the Italian masters, taking into account a 2011 study of 21 experts who prefer to play a modern instrument.
(This stolen Stradivarius turned up after 35 years.)
This article originally appeared on Newser: Researchers: We Know that the Stradivarius Secret