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Scanning Strads

CT Scan of Starivarius Violin Cross-section

CT scans may explain Stradivarius violins' sweet sound

By Greg Gilbert
CBC News

Growth rings in the wood used to make Stradivarius violins in the 1700s may hold the explanation for their unparalleled sound, say Dutch scientists.

Researchers at the Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, who put the instruments through a computed tomographic (CT) scanner, published their research Wednesday in the online journal PLoS ONE.

Many music lovers believe the classical violins made in Cremona, Italy, by famous masters such as Antonio Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesu, produce unique tonal expressiveness and projection. Despite three centuries of technological advancement, modern violin makers have been unable to duplicate the sound.

The scientists, who tweaked a computer program used to analyze scans measuring lung density in patients with emphysema, said that may be because of important differences in wood from the 1600s and wood today.

Read more about this at the CBC News website: