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Stradivari violins…… secrets of success

Jan 25th, 2009 | By | Category: Italian News

Researchers from the United States claim to have cracked the riddle of why Italian-made Stradivari and Guarneri violins have a distinctive sound.  Joseph Nagyvary, a biochemist at Texas A&M University, believes that wood-preserving chemicals are responsible for the 18th-century instruments’ unique sound – explaining why subsequent generations of violin-makers have never been able to recreate the famous violins from natural wood.

Nagyvary and his team published the theory in Nature three years ago after a preliminary analysis of slivers of wood obtained from restorers working on the instruments.

But in new research published in the journal Public Library of Science, the team has succeeded in identifying the special chemical cocktail used on the instruments by burning the wood slivers and analysing the ashes.

Borax, fluorides, chromium and iron salts form the base of the wood-preserving mixture, according to the researchers, who believe the discovery could lead to changes in the practice of modern violinmakers.

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