What makes old violins crafted by members of the Stradivari family so much better than violins produced today? Nothing, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In a musical version of the classic Coke versus Pepsi taste tests, scientists teamed up with experts who make, play and sell violins to see whether there’s any substance to the widespread belief that old violins are superior to newer models. Just as with soda, the researchers discovered that highly accomplished violin soloists couldn’t tell the difference between old and new instruments. What’s more, when the soloists didn’t know the ages of the instruments they were playing, they gave higher marks to the new violins than the ones made centuries ago by Italian masters.
Los Angeles Times, April 7th '14