Why Stradivari are preferred sound over other violins


A study published by The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America has identified the sound qualities that make the Stradivari violin preferable over others violins.
The experiment evaluated the sound qualities of violins in the attempt to find the distinct qualities that make a violin timbre pleasant.
Researchers from the Italian National Research Council, the Politechnique of Milan, and the University of Padova (CNR) invited 70 violin makers from Cremona to listen and compare the timbre of four violins. The researchers identified a ‘signature’ that distinguishes the preferred violin sound from those considered less pleasant.
’Thanks to an in-depth analysis of the descriptions provided by the listeners and vibro-acoustic measurements made on the instruments, we were able to describe the preferred sound as one that has a particular balance of “openness”, “clarity” and “nasality”,’ explained Carlo Andrea Rozzi from CNR.
The experiement was conducted double-blind; without the listeners or the researchers knowing which violin was playing during the procedure. Massimo Grassi from the University of Padova commented, ’We used a very simple sound stimulus - a musical scale - so that the judgements were guided only by the timbre of the violin.’
’Establishing which aspects of the sound contribute to making the timbre of an instrument pleasant is important for violin making,’ stated Fabio Antonacci from the Politecnico di Milano, ’as it paves the way for the creation of instruments with desired timbral properties. The vibratory measurements made on these violins also have the purpose of building, in the future, a data repository that enables the relationship to be estimated between the way the instrument vibrates and the timbre.’


Read the article: https://doi.org/10.1121/10.0009320 

"A listening experiment comparing the timbre of two Stradivari with other violins"
Carlo Andrea Rozzi, Alessandro Voltini, Fabio Antonacci, Massimo Nucci, e Massimo Grassi The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 151, 443 (2022)