What Makes a Violin Powerful
Study identifies features that boost a violin’s sound.
Some of the most prized violins in the world were crafted in the Italian workshops of Amati, Stradivari, and Guarneri—master violin-making families from the 17th and 18th centuries, who produced increasingly powerful instruments. These violins, worth millions of dollars today, represent the Cremonese period, considered the golden age of violin making.
Now MIT researchers and violin makers at Boston’s North Bennet Street School have analyzed measurements from hundreds of Cremonese-era violins, identifying features that contribute to their acoustic power, or fullness of sound.
The researchers acquired technical drawings of violins from museums, collector databases, and books, as well as x-rays and CT scans of the instruments. They compared the dimensions of various features and measurements of acoustic resonances in different instruments.
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