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  1. fabio antonacci
  2. Alessandro Voltini

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Description: The violins of Stradivari are worldwide recognized as an excellence in craftsmanship, a model for instrument makers and an unachievable desire for collectors and players. However, despite the myth surrounding these instruments, blindfolded players tendentially prefer to play modern violins. Here we present a double blind listening experiment aimed at analysing and comparatively rating the sound timbre of violins. Myth instruments were listened to among other well-regarded and not so well regarded violins. Violin makers rated the timbre difference between simple musical scales played on test and a reference violin and results showed their preference converged on one particular Stradivari. Acoustical measurements revealed some similarities between subjective ratings and physical characteristics of the violins. We speculate that the myth of Stradivari could have been boosted, among other factors, by specimens of tonal superior quality that biased favourably the judgment on his instruments and spread upon all the maker’s production. Our results contribute to the understanding of timbre of violins and suggest the characteristics that are in a relationship with a timbre’s pleasantness.


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