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What Makes Stradivarius Violins Special?

Stradivarius violins refer to the instruments that were produced by Italian violin maker Antonio Stradivari from the mid-1600s until his death in 1737. They are widely considered by musicians to have superior sound quality. Scientists believe this is not necessarily because of Stradivari’s skill, but rather the wood he used. From about 1645 to 1715, very few sunspots — strong magnetic forces on the sun’s surface — were present. This lack of sunspots is thought to have contributed to colder-than-average temperatures in Europe during that time. The cold temperatures resulted in trees growing more slowly, causing wood to be hard and dense. Dense wood from spruce trees is what is thought to contribute to the superior quality of Stradivarius violins.

More about Stradivarius violins :

  • Previous discredited hypotheses about the cause of the superior quality of the violins included the ideas that Stradivari used a secret varnish or used wood from ancient cathedrals and castles.

  • A Stradivarius violin in mint condition sold for a record-breaking $16 million US Dollars in 2011.

  • Stradivari created more than 1,100 instruments, and about 600 are thought to have remained in existence through the early 21st century.

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More Info: si.edu

Discuss this Article

anon333948
Post 3

This hypothesis is ridiculous, both for the reasons posted by anon333924, but also the fact that the wood benefiting from supposed sunspot activity wouldn't have been ready to use until long after Stradivarius was gone.

anon333924
Post 2

Very interesting theory. However, there were other luthiers making instruments at the same time and from the same wood. Ergo, there is still something special that Stradivarius was doing.

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