Friday, September 17, 2021

Borax and zinc made Stradivarii?

Via a friend of the blog, this Ars Technica piece by Jennifer Ouellette:
Along with Andrea Amati and Andrea Guarneri, Antonio Stradivari dominated the so-called Golden Age of Violins (roughly 1660 to 1750), and the instruments they crafted remain the gold standard today in terms of acoustic quality. World-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma has long favored a Stradivarius instrument, as does violinist Joshua Bell. But scientists have been arguing for years about precisely why these instruments have such superior sound. A recent paper published in the journal Angewandte Chemie confirms a theory dating back to 2006: the secret lies in the chemicals used to soak the wood, most notably borax, zinc, copper, alum, and lime water.

Good piece - if it was indeed the treatments, good luck reproducing that!  

1 comment:

  1. One of my grad school mentors, Dr. Lloyd Burckle of Columbia University and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, tried to examine the wood of Stradivari, relating the ring widths of the wood to paleoclimate, to see if that explained the distinctive sound of these violins.


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