"I definitely know this one is a Stradivarius",
said Antonio Stradivari.
Researchers tested professional violin players to see if they could tell the difference between an old Stradivarius violin and newer well-made violins.
The test was scientifically more rigorous than most since it was double-blind – the musicians couldn’t see and weren’t told which violin they were playing.
Some players were absolutely certain which violin was which.
Turns out, they were wrong.
Said one researcher:
"There was no evidence that people had any idea what they were playing…That really surprised me."
The conclusion? There’s no perfect-sounding violin embodied by an old Stradivarius violin. It’s just that people like different sounds, and their ears can be overly influenced when they think something is supposed to be better.
Test your ears and see if you can tell what violin’s sound you like best, here:
Double-Blind Violin Test: Can You Pick The Strad? Deceptive Cadence, NPR>>
Section of painting is from Antonio Stradivari, 1893 by Edgar Bundy.