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back to article Man uses CAT scanner to copy Stradivarius

Attempts to recreate the renowned Stradivarius violin continued this week with boffins proposing an all-new approach using CAT scans and CAD software. After studying the anatomy of several instruments using a computerised axial tomography (CAT) scanner, Mora, Minnesota-based radiologist Steven Sirr managed to get hold of a …

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Anonymous Coward

Stradivarius sound quality.... is like oxygen-free, copper speaker cables then?!

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No, it's not.

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and....

Monster HDMI cables... :)

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Yep. It's a load of bollocks to inflate the worth of a few old violins, many of doubtful provenance, that have been repaired numerous times with new parts. In the guitar world, companies like Gretsch are going to similar lengths (including CAT scans) to replicate the beaten up guitars once owned by the likes of George Harrison. Meanwhile, people are waiting months to have CAT scans done on the NHS ... not that the hundreds of scans being done on these instruments has anything to do with the waiting lists, but it does put this pointless exercise into perspective.

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Anonymous Coward

Not so much

Many classical musicians can tell a Strad or Guarneri just from hearing the sound. That said, a great player can make a mediocre fiddle sound pretty good, and a bad player can make a Strad sound like a Chinese student violin. So, interesting study, but until we have the verdict of some real violin experts, rather than the violin's makers and a bunch of radiographers, the case remains unproven. After all, part of the Strad recipe may well be, 'make great violin, then play it daily for 300 years'. Thankfully, Strads do tend to end up with players rather than locked in Russian billionaires' vaults.

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NHS-free

We don't have NHS in the USA, or in Minnesota where the original article is based. As a result there are plenty of CAT machines and operators. One can usually get in the next day. Total of what the insurance company paid and my co-payment was about $400.

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Cazzo Enorme

Believe it or not not all CT machines are found in hospitals.

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Joke

@FatsBrannigan

I've always been satisfied with a mediocre fiddle...

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Thanks for missing the point.

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@FatsBrannigan: "Many classical musicians can tell a Strad or Guarneri just from hearing the sound."

Only because they already either know it's a Strad or Guarneri beforehand, or that the player they are listening to regularly plays such an instrument (most often on loan from the owner who bought it as an investment or status symbol). In tests, the tones of several Stradivarius have been proven to be pretty variable - as you'd expect from hand made violins from the pre-industrial era - giving the lie to the idea of a distinct "Stradivarius" tone.

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Cazzo Enorme #2

You had a point... Was it to suggest that we should send people on the waiting list to research labs to get their scans done by CT equipment that was never designed to fit a human?

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Yes but...

It's not just the particular types and shapes of wood that are important, it's the grain density, the grain direction the pieces of wood have been assembled in, and the glues and varnish. The latter two are hugely important to the overall sound.

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Anonymous Coward

All vile-dins sound similar...

scratchy and horrible... harrumph

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For a fuller tone try listening to a competent player using an electric violin - for example, there's a guy called Ed Alleyne Johnson who is well worth checking out. I played my first gig, way back in 1991, supporting a band he was playing in. At the end of the set, the rest of the band walked off and Ed carried on playing, adding layers of sound with various guitar pedals. Absolutely amazing music, and not the sound of a violin that most people would expect.

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WTF?

Why?

So nice to see all this technology being put to such good use. It'll still sound like a load of strangled cats.

Mind you, if it was to do the same thing to reproduce specific Fender or Les Paul.....

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Anonymous Coward

Slight, but crucial difference between a violin and a Fender or Les Paul

Violins don't have solid bodies

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Neither do all Fender guitars have solid bodies (Telecaster Thinline for example).

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Anonymous Coward

Soon the market value will collapse

So I guess it is time to sell those dozen or so Stradivarius i have been hoarding in my closet for a rainy day,

eBay here they come.

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Happy

I've got a Stradivarius and a Rembrandt...

... trouble is Rembrandt made lousy violins and Stradivarius was a terrible painter.

- Tommy Cooper - RIP

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Mystique

Yo-Yo Ma was given a rare Stad cello and, although officially revering it, he doesn't play it, because the sound is not that good. Everything decays. Some Strads are like the old story of the knife: same knife I had when I was a boy. Of course, the handle's been replaced a couple of time, ditto the blade...

Some modern virtuosi are shrugging off the cult fo the Strad. Christian Tetzlaff, for instance, did his own sound test (listened to some) and put aside his Strad for a modern violin.

It takes craft, knowledge of sound and materials, and experience to make a good violin, and I am sorry that modrn luthiers are so overshadowed by instruments that were brilliant in the 19th century, but are now either dying or composites so far from the original that they are almost fakes.

To my fellow posters who hate the sound of a violin: have you ever heard a top violinist playing one of the great violin concertos live? If not, then you have missed one of life's greatest treasures.

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Anonymous Coward

Or the fiddle?

In fact there is a huge range of sounds and music played on instruments that are all, essentially, violins. We take for granted the violin and its siblings as the backbone of the western orchestral sound. As so solo instrument, western classical is very far from its only character. Irish or European folk are two examples, an even more different one is the violin of South Indian classical music.

Give the violin a chance: they do not all sound the same!

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Trollface

What's the difference between a violin and a trampoline?

You have to take off your shoes before you jump on the trampoline.

But seriously, I would think a true audiophile would not only be able to tell the difference between a Stradivarius & a Yamaha, he (they always are 'he') would also be able to tell you what side the player parted their hair that morning - as long as he heard it over oxygen-free copper suspended by monopolar magnetic fields generated by raw ironstone dug by monks from the the Himilayas, through speakers of pure chinese silk spun by virgins, in platinum-plated osmium enclosures. You can hear the difference, you know!

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Anonymous Coward

Audiophiles claim to have 'golden ears'

However, a good violinist really is very sensitive to small differences in intonation and timbre.

Audiophiles often convey an impression that the music is of secondary (at best) importance to the gear

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