Renowned Arkansas violin maker Terry Borman
recently teamed with a Dutch doctor to answer an age old question. Why do Stradivarius violins sound so good?
Using a CT scanner, normally used to examine patients, Borman and his colleague compared eight modern violins to five classical models. (The process allowed them to analyze the physical properties of the instruments without damaging them.)
As they reported on the online online journal PLoS ONE
today, they didn't find much difference between the median wood densities between the old and new models, though they did find far less variation in the early models.
So even wood density is the key, all y'all aspiring violin master craftsmen. (Density affects vibration, which is key to sound quality.) Though finding evenly dense wood is a whole nother issue. In an interview with Reuters, Dr. Berend Stoel suggested it could be a function of climate, aging or treatment of the wood.