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SUSANNE GEBHARDT GEIGEN BAUMEISTERIN

A Stradivarius is one of the most unpopular violins among professional musicians – at least if the musicians do not know that they are playing. They mostly preferred newer violins in the blind trial, researchers report by Claudia Fritz from the University of Paris in the PNAS (online). The musicians could not distinguish between old and new instruments. There are numerous assumptions about the supposedly superior quality of old violins, ranging from the use of a special lacquer to the effects of the small ice age on the wood. The researchers had 21 experienced violinists playing blindly on a total of six instruments. Three violins were few days to years old, three were old master violins: two Stradivarius and one Guarneri violin. The musicians should assess tone color and playability and decide which instruments they would most likely take home with them. In doing so, the new instruments improved even better. Thus, eight musicians decided to take an old violin home – 13 chose a new one. One of the two Stradivaris was rated as the worst instrument in both tests. Instead of looking for the “secret” of the Italian violin makers, it should be investigated how musicians evaluate instruments at all, according to the researchers. One of the two Stradivaris was rated as the worst instrument in both tests. Instead of looking for the “secret” of the Italian violin makers, it should be investigated how musicians evaluate instruments at all, according to the researchers. One of the two Stradivaris was rated as the worst instrument in both tests. Instead of looking for the “secret” of the Italian violin makers, it should be investigated how musicians evaluate instruments at all, according to the researchers.

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