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Acoustic Power in Cremonese-Era Violins
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Power efficiency in the violin

Published: Wednesday, February 11, 2015 - 22:02 in Mathematics & Economics

Some of the most prized violins in the world were crafted in the Italian workshops of Amati, Stradivari, and Guarneri -- master violinmaking families from the 17th and 18th centuries who produced increasingly powerful instruments in the renaissance and baroque musical eras. These violins, worth millions of dollars today, represent the Cremonese period -- what is now considered the golden age of violinmaking. Now acousticians and fluid dynamicists at MIT, along with violinmakers at the North Bennet Street School in Boston, have analyzed measurements from hundreds of Cremonese-era violins, identifying key design features that contribute to these particular violins' acoustic power, or fullness of sound.

The team acquired technical drawings of Cremonese-era violins from museums, collector databases, and books, as well as X-ray and CAT scans of the instruments. They compared the dimensions of various features from one instrument to another, as well as measurements of acoustic resonances across instruments.

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