New Research Suggests the Genius of Stradivarius Was Just an Accident

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Stradivarius Study Research Design Cover

A 7 year study, conducted by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has found many of the characteristics that made Stradivarius, Guarneri and Amati instruments great, may have come about by accident rather than design.

The comprehensive, chronological study of over 500 Cremonese instruments, involving complex analysis of technical drawings, x-rays and CAT scans, has concluded that the sound and tone improvements were likely to have been achieved through small errors made each time the luthier attempted to replicate his original.

The study suggests 17th and 18th Century violins, by the three prominent Cremonese makers, demonstrate a slow evolution towards longer, more elongated f-holes and thicker back plates – rather than any significant intentional design shift.

‘We found if you try to replicate a sound-hole exactly from the last one you made, you will always have a little error …you are cutting with a knife into thin wood and you cannot get it perfectly, and the error we report is about two percent,” Research-lead, Professor Nicholas Makris has said.

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